The sweet smell of chocolate lingers in the air inside Aunt Diana’s Old Fashioned Fudge, 29 E. Burlington St. in downtown Riverside. But the shelves are bare and the windows are papered over – temporarily at least – after water from an upstairs residential unit apparently flooded out the east half of the retail store.
On June 22, store manager Patty Miglore walked in to work to find that water had poured through the ceiling of the business, ruining any products in the eastern portion of the store as well as the integrity of the ceiling itself.
A week later, Miglore was still waiting for repair work to begin while counting the growing number days retail customers weren’t able to walk through the doors and seeing revenue disappear with candy-making operations at a bit of a standstill.
“Everything on this side of the store was destroyed,” Miglore told the Landmark, pointing to the east side of the store, during an interview inside Aunt Diana’s on June 29.
Miglore said she’s been told it ought to take two weeks to get things back up and running, but it’s unclear exactly when work might start.
As of June 29, no repairs had been started and there was still a large hole in the ceiling, which exposed bathroom pipes from the unit upstairs, while the drywall sheets that make up their ceiling near that area clearly were starting to pull away from the joists.
Not everything was a loss. Miglore was able to save candy on the west side of the store and has had enough inventory to maintain her table at the Riverside Farmers Market, and she said the store will have sweets to sell at the July 3 Concert in the Park and may be able to swing something for the next Cruise Night in July.
Between this latest episode and months of construction outside her front door in 2016, it hasn’t been the easiest 15 months over at Aunt Diana’s
The streetscape work, which took out the sidewalk in front of the business for three months put a big dent in sales in 2016.
“I’m just starting to recoup from not having a sidewalk for 95 days,” said Miglore. “And now this.”
The only good news, relatively speaking, is that this didn’t happen in October right before Halloween or in the spring before Easter. Riversiders tend to leave town on vacation during July, so it’s typically a slow time of the year for Aunt Diana’s.
“There are things to be thankful for, but there’s no control over who’s moving and when [to get the repairs done],” Miglore said.
As far as what caused the water damage, Miglore said she hasn’t received a definitive answer. There don’t appear to be any leaking pipes, but apart from that she said she’s not sure what happened.
“They’re not saying,” Miglore said.