Construction accident next door might keep new small business from opening

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DENVER -- A Highland neighborhood apartment building under construction is causing a massive crack in the plan for a new deli and brewery that was supposed to open its doors next month.

Small business owners and constant construction are changing the face of the neighborhood.

“Just building my dream, I guess,” said Daniel Appell, who’s dream is The Grateful Gnome. “I’ve just had an affinity for the little guys."

He wants to open a brewery and Italian-style deli like the one he grew up with back home in New Jersey.

“The bar is built from wood that was reclaimed from here,” he said of the work he’s been doing inside the place for more than a year.

“Blood, sweat and tears,” he says of that time.

Nearly two weeks ago, that work came to a sudden halt and his dream came crashing down.

“It sounded like a bomb went off and I had no idea what had happened so I came running in and saw the plank sticking through the ceiling, leaning on the bar,” Appel said.

Scaffolding from the apartment complex going up next door fell onto The Grateful Gnome’s roof.

“It was unbelievable. I was still pinching myself hoping this was a dream,” he said.

No one was injured, but the damage moves his projected opening date of next month to possibly next year.

“I mean, it's unrecoverable. Once you get so far in, you can’t really just walk away from it,” Appell said.

With his savings now drained, he’s holding onto help and holding out for hope that The Grateful Gnome will come back for a reunion tour.

“Dreaming the dream was awesome. Living the dream kind of sucks,” he said.

The owner of the apartment complex said its insurance will cover the damage to The Grateful Gnome’s roof.  He also said the scaffolding fell in high winds and before it had been inspected for use.

Meanwhile, other neighboring businesses set up a GoFundMe page to help Appell stay afloat until he’s able to open.

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