Arizmendi Announces Early 2020 Reopening Date After Lengthy Battle with Insurance Carrier

Published On December 30, 2019 | By Rob Arias | In the Neighborhood, Local Businesses

The Emeryville Arizmendi recently announced a new target reopening date via Instagram. The popular neighborhood bakery has been closed for over a year after a vehicle collision with a gas line led to extensive fire and water intrusion damage. They initially targeted an ambitious spring 2019 reopening but soon realized the difficulty of navigating an insurance claim and reconstruction.

It’s been a long and frustrating experience for the team of bakers, but the the strong community support has kept them going and they are looking forward to rejoining the community. “It’s been so amazing to receive so much support from the community,” noted Arizmendi Baker/Owner Jacob Sadowsky through email.

Reopening Challenges Explained

After beginning the rebuilding process, they soon realized the challenges of dealing with a claims adjuster and the many hoops they would need to jump through. “We had a very hard time collecting reimbursement from our insurance carrier,” they noted was Travelers. “They seemed to work as hard as possible to hinder us from collecting the compensation outlined in our policy. Their agents seemed to do everything possible to prevent us from receiving the compensation we were entitled to including payroll, equipment, and continuing expenses like health insurance.”

Things got so difficult for the bakers, that they were forced to hire a public adjuster to advocate on their behalf. “He helped us receive what we needed to reopen, but his services were quite expensive.”

They even set up a GoFundMe campaign to help offset some of their losses and stay afloat while closed. Some of the members had to pick up work elsewhere to get by. “Some members picked up some other work, but the majority of the members worked diligently to get the bakery back up and running. Finding new equipment, projecting cash flow, and battling with Travelers. Coordinating reconstruction all took a ton of time.”

Another enormous challenge was coordination between their large group of worker-owners and the many stakeholders of the project including their insurance carrier, the property owner, property management, their contractor and PG&E. “There was so much outside of our control, and while we did everything possible to get back as soon as we could there was just so much that had to happen that was not up to us.”


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Hoping to come back stronger than ever

They’ve taken the opportunity while closed to revamp and upgrade their interior space which hasn’t changed much since they opened in 2003. “We hope to create a better flow for our customers, as well as a better flow for our bakers. We are reworking our production schedules as well so there may be some small differences in our products (hopefully for the better!).”

Customers may also notice that the prices of their baked goods will be a tick higher to accommodate rising expenses. “Around 25 cents for the most part, sometimes a bit higher though we tried our best to keep items affordable (and still darn cheap!).”

And what about a reopening date? They are estimating that construction will be complete the week of Jan 19th and can begin stocking ingredients and supplies as well as testing out new equipment and workflows. They are cautiously optimistic they could reopen soon after. “Maybe one week more, maybe 10 days, maybe less….we really can’t say at this point,” they noted, weary of pinning down an exact date.

They also noted the likelihood that they will only initially be open five days a week as they ramp up production. After this “soft re-opening” they intend to resume a 6 days a week schedule remaining closed on Mondays with Sunday being a half-day. They are also actively looking to hire one, possibly two bakers. Interested applicants can read more and apply online.

Follow Arizmendi on Instagram or send them an email for their most up to date information on their opening. “We are all looking forward to seeing all of your sweet faces once again. Thank you everyone for continuing to hold space for us in your lives and in your hearts!”

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

6 Responses to Arizmendi Announces Early 2020 Reopening Date After Lengthy Battle with Insurance Carrier

  1. nasukaren says:

    This is great news. I’ve really missed having them in the neighborhood. There’s nothing like Arizmendi bread!

  2. Irene Bruenger says:

    We love Arizmendi’s! The people, the pizza and the baked goods, especially their Italian almond cookies. Great to have them back soon.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Rob for posting the progress they’ve made. On an unrelated note, do you know what the incentives the city provided for them to open the bakery in the first place?

    • Rob Arias says:

      Yes, totally unrelated but since somebody inquired about this previously, I’ll provide the answer (although I’d personally prefer this post be kept positive and about their reopening).

      Per a 2015 email from Michelle DeGuzman who was the Economic Development Coordinator at the time:

      1. Subsidized rent (2002)
      a. We master leased the commercial space from the property owner, and then subleased it to them at below market lease rates.
      b. Rent subsidy = $115,727
      2. Tenant Improvement Allowance(TIA) (2002)
      a. Provided in the form of a grant through the “key tenant” provision of the Agency’s business loan program
      b. TIA = $250,000
      3. Tenant Improvement Loan
      a. In 2002 principal was $350,000 at 3% annual simple interest rate, amortized over 8 years
      b. In 2007 renegotiated loan to reduce their monthly costs as the City was not going to renew the master lease on the space, and could no longer provide subsidized rent
      i. Re-started amortization period for a new 10 years with then current principal (to reduce monthly payment)
      ii. Upon exercising their option to renew their lease, reduce principal balance by $60,000
      4. Architectural design review and services = $20,000

      In summary, assuming Arizmendi fully repays the loan then the City will have provided them $445,727 in grant/rent subsidy/loan forgiveness.

  4. Eric Arico says:

    Glad they’re coming back! Sorry to hear about the insurance issues. I suspected that was the cause of the delay. If the payout had been prompt the whole process of gutting the place, and rebuilding should have taken less than 6 months.

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