Photo: The GoFundMe page.
When Jacqui Davis would travel to visit her sister in Watertown, there was one mandatory stop as she passed through her former hometown of Belmont.
“How could I pass up going to Ohlin’s?” said the Burlington resident who owns Virtually Here, an online business consultancy. “It’s a staple of Cushing Square.”
For Davis, the century-old bakery located in Cushing Square was where in high school she worked behind the counter and continued coming back for, what else, the shop’s specialty.
“The donuts!” she said of the pastries that have won praise for more than 20 years. “Obviously, they are the best.”
But Davis’ trips were suddenly ended when on March 15 – the Ides of March – an early morning explosion rocked the building and the back of the shop located at 456 Common St. closing the shop to its loyal patrons.
Since then, the landlord, the insurance company, and the town have been in discussions on the future of the site.
At the beginning of this week, co-ower Marybeth Klemm updated the store’s legion of customers with a Facebook post. She noted that the insurance would only allow the rebuilding of a retail space and if the family hoped to return to the spot, they would need to equip the space for a bakery which requires special cooking equipment, a whole lot of permits and a significant number of expensive upgrades.
“Since the building was damaged- everything must now be brought up to code. Like floors with drains etc…These are all new codes. So we now must have them, but our insurance won’t cover any upgrades,” wrote MaryBeth.
“We are incredibly nervous and stressed about the unknown,” wrote Marybeth, who owns the business with her husband, Paul.
It was Marybeth’s message that prompted Davis into action.
This was passed around the Facebook group “You know you are from Belmont… and we decided we need to help!” said Davis in her online message.
Davis created a GoFundMe appeal on Wednesday, July 20, “to make sure Ohlin’s Bakery will be around another 100 years!” Davis said she chose $50,000 even though that figure may be on the low end of what will be needed, “but that just means we will need to exceed it,” she said.
In addition to the online fundraiser, she is tapping into her large list of clients and contracts which include local Belmont businesses to help “one of their own.”
“This is not just about another business, it’s about community,” Davis said.
After one day, the fund has raised more than $9,400 from 200 contributors as of 9 a.m., Thursday, July 21.
“I’m as passionate about this as is Belmont,” said Davis.