Written by Dave Hiller, President, Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce – Our tiny coastal village of Birch Bay was hit by 10 foot plus high tide along with a low pressure system and winds up to 40 miles per hour on Monday morning, December 17. Two businesses were especially hard hit, Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro on the water side of Birch Bay Drive and then also Birch Bay Consignment and Thrift on Alderson Road.
The community responded with overwhelming support January 5, 5:00 – 9:00 at the Birch Bay High Tide Relief event held at the Grand Bay Café space along Birch Bay Drive. This space is currently empty but owners are looking for a fine cage and wine bar to move into the former CJ Wijns space. Hundreds attended, the space was always full and people were lined up past the front door. Live music with the crowd joining in was part of the great evening. Approximately $8,500 was raised to help the employees through the difficult month and time of year for both Via and Consignment & Thrift.
Many from the community had previously offered assistance for the clean-up – tools, labor and encouragement. Many also came forward for help with the event by donation – spaghetti, salad, garlic bread and desserts were served. The Via staff all worked hard at accommodating all the supporters. Many businesses and individuals provided raffle and silent auction items. Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro’s famous Skinny Puppy original paintings painted by Jefferson Oh were auctioned with some of the seaweed still hanging on the backs of the paintings.
The show of support by this community was overwhelming! Yoon Oh, owner of Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro and Susan Fisher, owner of Birch Bay Consignment & Thrift express their tremendous gratitude for the huge effort. The Consignment Shop, having been surrounded by water, is now open again. Via Birch Bay Café and Bistro plans to be open as soon as possible once insurance and permits are worked out. They are hoping for early February. What a great sense of community we have. We need to find other opportunities to come together like this in the future. Let’s not wait for a natural disaster like this to bring us together.