While the rest of America was grilling burgers and relaxing by the pool on July 4th, Josie Barber and her daughter April Lupkey received devastating news. A fire had broken out at their Downtown St. Pete restaurant, Karma Juice Bar & Eatery, located at 209 1st Street NE.
The cause of the fire is still unknown, but Barber estimates it’ll take 2-3 months and $200,000 to rebuild. “We are already drawing up the plans to make it safer,” says Barber. “This is an opportunity to make Karma better than ever.”
As a gesture of goodwill after hearing about the fire, real estate owner Jon Daou offered Karma discounted rent inside one of his properties. So until the original location reopens, Karma will temporarily operate out of Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails at 1111 Central Avenue.
“We’ve been really overwhelmed with all of the support that the community has given us over the past few days,” says Lupkey. “So many of our customers have reached out via social media and others have even traveled to our Clearwater location to support us.”
The menu at Intermezzo will be limited to a few acai bowls, juices, smoothies, salads and sandwiches. Hours will be from 8am to 7pm. Service will start this Wednesday.
And if Karma’s limited menu at Intermezzo doesn’t have your favorite menu item, you can still visit their sister location in Clearwater at 2095 Drew Street. Also, next month Karma will debut a third location in Safety Harbor at 201 Main Street.
Karma employs 33 people across all locations and Barber is hoping she can keep all of them. “I have the best employees and I would like to keep paying them even though we are going through this,” says Barber.
“This is our phoenix rising moment. Everything happens for a reason,” says Lupkey. “It’s not pretty right now, but we will rebuild.”
Be sure to visit Karma at their temporary location inside Intermezzo Coffee and Cocktails located at 1111 Central Avenue. Follow Karma Juice Bar & Eatery on Facebook and Instagram to stay up-to-date on the buildout and grand re-opening of the original Karma at 209 1st Street NE.