Fire ravages Park Slope handmade jewelry store
by Jess Berry
May 21, 2014 | 1532 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On May 1, a fire engulfed Park Slope’s handmade jewelry and apparel store Cog & Pearl, destroying 90 percent of the store’s inventory and leaving the future of the beloved store uncertain.

Owners Kristin Overson and her husband Seth Walter lost over $100,000 in the fire, as the store itself and most of the items for sale are in ruins. The couple did not have their inventory or the shop itself insured.

“There were some issues with our building,” Overson said. “It doesn’t have a sprinkler system, which is fine for retail, but obviously would not be okay for a restaurant. When we tried to get insurance the premiums were just unbelievable.”

The fire started at an outlet, which was not in use but did have a chord for a jewelry case plugged into it. The light for the jewelry cabinet was off, and Overson said they could not find out any other information on how the fire started.

Overson said she believed the call to the Fire Department happened around 9:20 p.m. The store closes at 8 p.m.

Cog & Pearl has been open for 12 years on Fifth Avenue. The couple sells independently designed and handmade goods, consisting mostly of jewelry but including accessories, apparel and home goods.

After the fire, the couple focused on getting a table set up for the Fabulous Fifth Avenue Fair, which took place this past Sunday all along Fifth Avenue in Park Slope.

“We were really happy with the turnout, so in that sense it went well,” Overson said of the fair. “But we only had a very, very tiny amount of inventory that survived, so it was bittersweet in that sense.”

Overson said that their customers have been loyal supporters throughout the ordeal.

“The outpouring from vendors, neighbors and our customers has been amazing, actually,” she said. “People are sending us emails, coming into the store while I’m in there salvaging stuff and offering to help, asking how they can help. It's really actually been great and the one bright spot in all of this.”

The future of the store is now unclear — Overson said that the costs of building the store back up again may be too high — but the couple is going to do their best to keep Cog & Pearl alive.

“It would take a lot of money to restart it,” Overson said. “We’re hopeful, but at this point we have to take it one step at a time.”

That first step will involve a fundraiser to hopefully raise enough money to invest in a website that, for the time being, will allow them to continue sales.

Updates on the store, the fundraiser and the website can be found at the Cog & Pearl Facebook page.

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