Birch Bay High-Tide Relief fundraiser set for January 5

Published on Wed, Jan 2, 2013 by Brandy Kiger

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On January 5, the Birch Bay High-Tide Relief fundraiser will be held to support two local businesses damaged by the pre-Christmas flooding in Birch Bay. 

The spaghetti feed at the old CJ Wijns restaurant from 5 to 9 p.m., which is by donation, will hopefully help ease the burden of lost wages for the employees of Via Birch Bay Cafe and Birch Bay Consignment & Thrift, two businesses that were heavily 
damaged by the winter storm that was accompanied by high winds and tides. 

Due to the damage, more than 25 employees were out of work for the holidays as owners assessed the waterlogged  structures and decided the best way to move forward. 

“We’re still gathering up things that are broken and destroyed,” said Steve Hendricks, manager of Via Birch Bay Cafe. “There’s quite a bit left. Anything that was on the floor or three feet above it is pretty much gone.” 

Five of the six bayfront windows at the cafe were blown out during the storm, Hendricks said, leaving gaping holes for water 
to rush through. Hendricks chalked it up to a bad repair job from where the windows were broken seven years ago. “They weren’t properly replaced,” he said. “They were just held in by a 1x4-inch board and 2-inch finish nails. Once the water came it was pretty much done at that point.”

Even as they struggled to clean up the mess left by the wayward tides, Hendricks said there were definitely bright spots in the situation. True to nature, the tight-knit community of Birch Bay has stepped up to support and comfort the business owners by bringing plates of cookies and food and hot coffee to the door as staff continues to work to get the restaurant back up to code.

“The community has been so wonderful,” he said. “It’s why I love living here. They are so generous. Some people who had prepaid for our New Year’s Eve party requested that we not refund their money, and instead put it toward the staff who really need it.”

The Via Birch Bay Cafe staff has stayed close at hand as well, and Hendricks praised their efforts. “They’re a great crew,” he said. “They’re all broke and beat up and tired, but they’re volunteering their vehicles and time for the clean up.” 

Hendricks said that they are still a few weeks out from being able to reopen, since the floors, electrical and roofing were destroyed by the waves.

They are waiting to hear the number value on the damage. He hopes the spaghetti feed will help ease a little of the financial burden for his employees, who are out of work due to the restaurant’s closure.

“Proceeds from the spaghetti feed will go to them,” he said. “And they all got together and agreed that Susan (of Birch Bay Consignment & Thrift) should receive 20 percent of the proceeds. They’re just generous.”

The spaghetti feed will be held at the old CJ Wijns restaurant at 7714 Birch Bay Drive on Saturday, January 5 from 5 to 9 p.m. Plates will include a serving of spaghetti, Caesar salad and garlic bread and can be purchased by donation.

There will also be a 50/50 drawing and a silent auction. Items up for silent auction include Skinny Dog paintings by Via Birch Bay Cafe owner Jefferson Oh, wine from Glacial Lake Missoula, items from The C Shop and much more.

For more information or to donate, call Hendricks at 360/510-6166.