PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Adam Lastrina’s wake-up call on Tuesday morning was far from ideal.
Around 4:30 a.m., while watching video surveillance on his phone, Lastrina was alerted to a fire near his Knead Doughnuts location on Custom House Street in Providence.
“I’m sort of waking up, half awake, one eye open, and I’m looking at the film and I can see smoke everywhere and the fire department breaking all of our windows,” he recalled. “So I jumped up and went downtown so I could see what was going on.”
Fortunately, Lastrina said the woman who lives above his shop was awake and called in the fire. He said if it had been called in 10 or 15 minutes later, the damage could have been far worse.
Instead, he said it’s manageable. There is some water damage inside, a couple of windows will need to be replaced and they will have to do some painting. But in light of everything else going on, Lastrina said he feels fortunate.
“What’s one more thing? Bring it on,” he said.
Lastrina is referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which actually closed his downtown location about a month ago. Since then, Knead Doughnuts has only offered takeout orders on the weekends.
When everything began to unfold in mid-March, Lastrina said he shut down operations for a week and laid off his employees for the foreseeable future.
“As a small business owner, it’s just the unknown,” he explained. “It’s nearly impossible to plan anything. I think it’s been really nice the business community has forged together and everyone’s trying to be a resource for each other. But honestly, we take it one week at a time.”
Lastrina said they would normally be planning for their busiest time of the year with Easter, graduation season, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day Weekend.
“I would be lying if I said it wasn’t the most stressful time,” Lastrina said. “But I think as a small business owner, all you can kind of do is solve the next problem. We’re trying to do the best we can to stay whole.”
Bob Burke, owner of neighboring business Pot Au Feu, shared Lastrina’s positive outlook. His business was also damaged in the fire.
“We’ve survived every disaster in Rhode Island. We’re not going to stop for this. We will be here,” Burke said.
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