MADISON, Wis. - CocoVaa Chocolatier will have a grand opening celebration tomorrow, but it won't have any chocolate for sale.
The owner said thousands of dollars of chocolate and more than two days of production was lost because fumes from the construction happening next door permeated the shop.
"It's just a shame that our very first Christmas holiday, which is our biggest sales week, out the gate is decimated by this," said Coco Vaa Chocolatier owner Syovata Edari.
The chocolate shop's new location is located under The Marling Apartments on East Washington. Inner Fire Yoga studio is being built right next door.
On Friday, 1848 Construction, who was contracted by Inner Fire Yoga, began to apply a concrete sealer, creating a stained finish so the concrete is not exposed. The odor spread to Coco Vaa.
"We had customers coming in and complaining of headaches, nausea, people waiting in line who left," said Edari.
Edari believes the yoga studio was not properly ventilated while the work was being done and this damage could've been prevented. That night, she worked with building management to bring in equipment to clean the air.
"A temporary smell is a byproduct of the process," said 1848 CEO Jim Anderson. "People have different tolerances for that."
CHOCOLATE IN THE TRASH: Thousands of dollars of Coco Vaa Chocolatier products have to be thrown away. The owner says fumes from the yoga studio construction next door permeated her chocolate. Now she won’t have any to sell for the holidays or the grand opening tomorrow. 🍫 #news3 pic.twitter.com/QgpbyIdUH4— Amanda Quintana (@AmandaQTV) December 17, 2018
Anderson said as soon as the company was notified of Edari's complaints on Friday evening, they tried to address the concerns as quickly as possible.
"We want to be good neighbors," said Anderson. But he said his workers can't go ask the neighboring businesses every time they need to advance the project.
A representative for the building owner said the mistake 1848 Construction made was a lack of communication.
Edari posted about the issue on Facebook on Saturday, saying Inner Fire Yoga used the chemical without "considering its impact on their neighbors." She said she has asked the apartment complex to stop Inner Fire Yoga's construction until they can come to an agreement to prevent this in the future. She is considering filing a restraining order.
"Our intentions are only to do good in the community," said Inner Fire Yoga owner Marit Sathrum.
Sathrum said she is sad about the situation because she wants fellow small businesses to succeed.
"Everything is being done that can be done," she said.
Sathrum does not believe there was any recklessness and the smell is a result of normal construction. She said Edari's "efforts are to disrupt our ability to open."
The plan is to have the studio open on Dec. 29, but Sathrum said everything is up in the air now.
"It's really just a shame that they weren't a little bit more considerate with the way that they're building their space and I'm also worried about what's going to happen next," said Edari.
She will not start to make chocolate again until she gets the results from hygienist that prove there is no public safety risk.
There will still be a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting on Tuesday.
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