The smiles on their faces said it all.

Meresa Mitchell and her husband of three years, Donovan Mitchell, also known as Pantar, were glad to reopen their cookshop in Kellits town, Clarendon, on Saturday, December 11.

The cookshop – a metal container – was gutted by fire on the night of September 11.

“When yuh business burn down, yuh feel like yuh lost, but God provide and change the situation,” said Donovan, who started cooking at the location some 20 years ago.

He said the fire consumed more than $1 million worth of goods, including food items, refrigerators, fryers, stove and pots.

“Everything in yah expensive,” Donovan told The Beacon. “It is a big loss.”

The fire happened shortly after the couple had their first child and moved into their own house.

Those moves, along with restrictions imposed nationally to slow the novel coronavirus, could have put the business out of operation for a much longer time.

But there was divine intervention, according to Meresa, a Christian. “I am humbled and grateful because I know it’s not my strength but it is because of God’s grace and his mercy. To him all the glory belong… And I want to thank all who he has placed in my life to help me to bounce back.”

That fire this year marked the second time that the Mitchells’ business is going up in flames.

The previous fire, Meresa recalled, destroyed the wooden structure that initially housed the cookshop.

Though not welcoming of fires, the couple has used both of them as an opportunity to bounce back bigger.

For example, when the wooden shop went up in flames some 15 years ago, the Mitchells resorted to using a container, which provided them with more space. And when fire destroyed that first container in September, they ended up acquiring a much more spacious one now.

“We take every disappointment for a setup to come back better,” Meresa told The Beacon.

The business was not insured, and the couple said fire personnel are yet to inform them about the cause of the September blaze.

The Mitchells, in the meantime, said their customers were happy to see them reopen on Saturday.

“It’s a good feeling knowing that you have loyal customers who look out for you daily, and knowing that they are getting what they really want – the food,” said Meresa, who works as a cashier while her husband cooks up a storm.

“Cooking is my husband’s dream and I support him 100 per cent,” she said, beaming a broad smile.


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