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Downtown Bakery Struggling After Explosion

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — As you approach the wood paneled door to the Borinquen Bakery on Bridge St. Naturally, the first instinct is to walk away. If you look closely, “We Are Open” is scribbled on it.

That’s exactly the message owner Carlos Oviedo wants people to really understand. “We had 10-11 days where we couldn’t work. Apart from that, we had meat, other products that we lost. In total, about $7,000-$8,000,” he said.

Since the gas explosion rocked downtown Springfield just over a week ago, Oviedo says people have been hesitant to come in.

Since the building’s temporary appearance makes folks think that the structure is damaged when that just isn’t the case.

In total Oviedo says they’ve lost about $20,000, and for the store to only have opened 4 months ago, they can’t afford to lose any more.

Places like Borinquen say they had a pretty easy claims process with Columbia Gas of Massachusetts. However, Jeffrey Ciuffreda, VP of Government Affairs at the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Springfield says that wasn’t necessarily the case after last June’s tornado. “We saw the Small Business Association come in, we tried to be helpful if we could but there seemed to be a process a much longer process of forms being set up, et cetera.  The explosion was on Friday, they were set up on Monday at City Hall,” he said.

Any business that wants to come back to downtown Springfield can do so. However, Springfield could be revisiting an old Urban Land Institute Development Initiative, which assesses a city’s economic development, as a new plan for that area.

There was a major redevelopment plan for the entire city. Then after the tornado, that plan was taken off the shelves. You could see how different areas of the city could benefit, but I’m not so sure it was focused on the Worthington St. area and everything, but I do think it brings people together very quickly,” Ciuffreda added.

In the meantime, while they wait for their claims to be processed, at Borinquen, they’ve got one more ingredient they’re using to get them through this tough time. “First, have faith in God, and that everything will work out. But it will take time.”

Since the clean-up phase is still ongoing, there aren’t any concrete plans as to what else will be built downtown.

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