Beacon Falls business reopens after suspected arson

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[wpaudio url=”http://www.mycitizensnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/bakery-package.mp3″ text=”Starting Over”]

BEACON FALLS — 25-year-old Samantha Negron has no children of her own. She sees her business as her child—and she admits to being something of a workaholic—so when the Beacon Falls Bakery and Deli, one of two locations owned and operated by Negron and her business partner, was nearly destroyed last fall, it “turned [her] life around.”

The store, located at 94 North Main Street, is made of brick. And brick was the only thing left standing when a fire ravaged the store’s interior, after it had been open only five weeks.

Her other store, in Monroe, was torched as well, though not as badly—it was closed only five days—and the state police and fire marshal are still investigating the suspected arsons.

It took Negron some time to heal from what proved to be a traumatizing loss, but the Beacon Falls Bakery and Deli is, as of late last month, back in business.

“It didn’t even give us a chance to even settle in,” Negron said last week of the fire. “Well, when we finally settled in, it was taken away. So we’re coming back. We’re excited to be back. It’s a lot easier now than the first time around of course.”

The location now offers hot food—Spanish rice, pork shoulders, potato balls and plantains, among other things—in addition to cold deli sandwiches and baked goods.

The store's North Main Street location was gutted by fire in October 2009 ...

“I changed it around a little bit just because I didn’t want to come to the same picture that I’ve seen in the newspapers and be traumatized by that,” Negron said, “or even traumatize some of my employees coming back. … I was very distraught when everything was taken away, because it was more like every little thing you put it there for a reason. So this time around, I decided to come around and instead of buying all new equipment like I did the first time, I bought used equipment. This time around I do have the cameras rolling at all times. The girls I had working here all came back, which is great.”

Negron may have learned a thing or two throughout the process of rebuilding, but the loss itself was very difficult for her to cope with. She said three to four months of the approximately eight-month interim between the fire and the store’s reopening were spent grieving, healing, and trying new things—she even tried working an office job in New York, which was too isolated and “boring”—but all roads led back to the Beacon Falls Deli and Bakery.

“I don’t have any children of my own. So this was my child,” she said. “And no mother would want their child or anything they have to go away. Yes, it was material items that can be replaced. But when you put so much work and so much love into something that you really want to succeed and want to happen and it’s gone the next day, unfortunately, it really does break your heart. I had to stay away for a little while. I had to stay away from my other location for a little while as well because it was very heartbreaking. …

Six months later, the decision to make was ‘Are you going to come back and rebuild the bakery? Or are you jut going to let whoever did this to you get away with it and close the doors?’ Fortunately I said to myself, ‘I owe it to myself,’ and not only that, but ‘I owe it to this town’ to go back and reopen.”

... and after the better part of a year, Samantha Negron reopened with a few new twists.

She said town officials and other local businesses had been supportive of her and helped make her openings—both of them—successes.“It’s like a family [in Beacon Falls],” she said. “You become a part of it, whether you want to or not, because you meet new people every single day, you have the people from the town coming in so you can meet them and know who they are. They look at me as a young woman, independent, by myself and they say ‘Wow. I am so proud of what you’ve done with this place.’”

And her location—she is far from neither the fire department nor the police station—along with new security measures, she hopes, will deter would-be criminals from trying to take her “child” away from her again.

“It was a big risk to open this place up” Negron said. “When something like that happens, where everything is taken away, it’s like, where to you go from now? Where do you start? What do you do? Yes, you have insurance, but how and what can they cover? You don’t know. It’s not like you really see it or see it helping in any way. You’re on your own. I’m really glad to be back; I have the cameras on and running, and it makes me feel at ease. And the people from the town are watching more.”