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Return of 122 faces setbacks
The 122 Restaurant and Bar was a beloved and unique island destination for locals. But when a fire claimed the building that housed the 122 in July, it left more than a smoldering shell of a building, it left an empty space among the island’s nightlife.
The owners of the 122 are hoping to not leave that space empty for too long, but it will be an uphill battle.
“We are looking for a place,” said 122 owner Kim Raymond. Raymond co-owns the business with islander Chris Ortiz.
“We have kept our business license open, and our liquor license open,” she added. “The idea is to open again.”
But that is easier said than done.
Raymond said that finding a suitable location for the 122 has been a challenge.
“It wouldn’t be smart to open up in Lynwood at the new center there, because we are a Winslow business,” she said. “It’s about finding something in the general vicinity that works.”
While options are limited in Winslow, Raymond remains hopeful.
But location is only one challenge to overcome. In the wake of the fire, Raymond and Ortiz discovered a more sizable setback.
In the year leading up to the fire, the restaurant owners switched insurance companies for their business to Farmers Insurance. They thought they were getting the same coverage for a better price — it wasn’t as simple as that.
“We got 90-percent less coverage for 12 percent of a break in our premium,” Raymond said.
Raymond said the business was insured for $250,000 for business and personal property before they decided to switch. At the time, they didn’t realize that they were actually getting $25,000 in coverage.
“No person could think that anything in that place was worth $25,000,” Raymond said. “Our POS (point of sale system) was worth $17,000 alone.”
The 122 had other items in the business as well, such as a pool table, furniture and other equipment.
The owners thought that there simply had to be a mistake at first, but the new insurance company has since maintained that $25,000 is the limit for the property.
Raymond and Ortiz sent a demand letter to the insurance company to reform their policy, but were denied.
At this point, the 122 owners have a few options ahead of them, one of which is to pursue an error-and-omissions route that may find the insurance agent either made a mistake or omitted pertinent information.
Mark Toohey, a Farmers representative, noted that the 122’s claim is still open.
“It has not been finalized,” he said.
Toohey said that the company has already paid out approximately $197,000 in coverage for the 122, but that covers things like removing debris and food spoilage. The $25,000 limit on personal property is another matter.
Raymond said that if it was just about her and Ortiz, it might be easier to throw their hands up and walk away.
But the 122 isn’t just Raymond and Ortiz. It had employees who felt like family, she said. It was a home away from home for many island regulars. And the restaurant had investors who believed in the business.
“We have to pursue the fight on their behalf,” Raymond said. “We actually stand to gain nothing financially.”