In case you missed it, Bruce Buschel has a heart-rending account of the Memorial Weekend fire that shut down his new restaurant, Southfork Kitchen, just when things were starting to look good for the summer season. Buschel is careful to count his blessings — no injuries, quick firefighters, good insurance and the like — but his pain is apparent in every sentence. Take these, for instance:
Behind the stainless steel wall, in the cavity behind the ovens, inside the fire-rated dry wall, spreading to the two-by-six wooden studs, something was smoldering. Behind the steely façade, in the fatalistic part of the psyche, somewhere between my heart and my wallet, something was smoldering all right.
For any small-business owner who’s endured a tornado, flood, fire or some other disaster, that smoldering anguish is something you can surely attest to. But the shock of recognition isn’t limited just to entrepreneurs. In the days after Buschel’s blog post, dozens and dozens of ordinary readers reached out with condolences, advice and support. When Southfork reopens — and we can only hope that day will come soon — the restaurant will no doubt enjoy new reservoirs of goodwill.
The irony is that Buschel may have squandered some goodwill earlier this year with a series of earlier posts that seemed to attack the PR industry. I noted at the time that he had lost control of his narrative, veering into an ugly and very public shouting match that did nothing to advance his business.
Through it all, Buschel kept blogging, got back to his original narrative and rebuilt his brand. Now that he’s opened a vein and shared the pain of his restaurant fire, only the most jaded cynic would continue to bear him any ill will over the earlier dust-up.
Thanks to his candor, transparency and eloquence, Buschel has more than regained the love he might have lost earlier — proof that good storytelling is not only therapeutic, but also redemptive.