Well, as predicted I missed an entry or two leading up to Christmas. The good news is that it wasn't (all) procrastination! There has been an explosion of activity in the bakery as a lot of the planning that happened over the last month is transformed into concrete changes.
The entire electrical service, which had been straining under the load of mainly refrigeration and air conditioning systems, has been replaced. We now can easily accommodate the cooling demand as well as the high-voltage and 3-phase requirements of our larger mixers and other equipment well into the future. Many thanks to Master Electrician J Thomas Velez of TAC Electric in Hellertown and his son Joel for their excellent work and real dedication to making these essential upgrades safely and quickly. Their focus will now turn to the giant task of tracing and upgrading the existing wiring, and installing new lighting in the bakery and retail store. Thomas has also been providing power as needed to the other contractors working in the building while the conversion was underway.
Those other contractors include Alfero Co., whose construction managers Jim Keiper and Brian Serfass have been hard at work coordinating the installation of the new ceilings in the bakery and shop. Many thanks to Dave, Lorne, Jamie and the other guys from Alfero for doing great work and keeping the jobsite clean as a whistle while making preparations for the sheetrock installers. Jim and Brian supervised the work that led to our first building inspection (which, naturally, we passed) for the proper installation of sheetrock on the ceiling for fire and draft protection. Drywall installers Servando and Henry deserve a round of applause for working around all of the equipment in the bakery and keeping the mayhem to a minimum.
So, you think having electricians, carpenters, drywallers working at the same time (and with minimal electricity) is enough? Think again. Last week also saw a crew from J&M Air in Somerville NJ making preparations for replacing the exhaust fan and hood in the back of the bakery. Eric Brescia from J&M is working closely with Brett and Steve from Kistler O'Brien in Bethlehem to coordinate the hood installation with a new fire suppression and alarm system, both required by city codes. Good communication with Alfero's carpenters was critical as the J&M team installed ductwork and Kistler's technician dismantled the old extinguisher directly under a new ceiling being framed!
Just when you thought I couldn't fit another tradesman into the building, Bob Sullivan was also hard at work making repairs and upgrades to our two boilers. One of the boilers heats the building, and the other provides steam for our ovens (needed for great bread crust). Both had been installed prior to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requiring their registration with the State Bureau of Labor and Industry. Bob is a consummate professional and had both units upgraded and ready for state inspection in one day! I think Bob already forgot more about steam systems than most people will ever know, and provided a lot of insight (and torque!) while helping to relocate some of the system plumbing in preparation for the ceiling work.
I hope this gives you some sense of how busy it's been at Easton Baking in the last week or two. Sanity still prevails, for the moment, and I think we're still on track for opening in the second part of January. Thanks to everyone for providing comments and encouragement through the website and our Facebook page. More to come as our social media program gets up and running!
Hoping you all are having enjoyable holidays, and wishing you all the best in the New Year!