West Village Vitamin Shop Reopens After Devastating Fire

Integral Yoga Natural Foods — Charlottesville, Virginia
Integral Yoga Natural Foods — Charlottesville, Virginia

 Integral Yoga's vitamin store reopened after a fire tore through the store last April.

WEST VILLAGE — A vitamin store ravaged by an electrical fire last spring finally reopened after months of struggling to get back on its feet.

In April, a fire tore through and destroyed almost all of Integral Yoga Natural Vitamins, at 234 West 13th St., the “apothecary” of the nonprofit Integral Yoga Institute, which has stood across the street for 40 years.

After months of negotiations with its insurance company, gutting and rebuilding the store, the shop is finally back up and running.

“It’s not an epic story,” said Dan Kessler, 32, the store’s “IT guy” for seven years, who jumped in and took on many of the responsibilities of rebuilding the store after the fire. “But it was strange to live through.”

The electrical fire started when some sparks in the store’s refrigerator crept up the wall behind the fridge to an air conditioning unit above it that exploded, Kessler said.

Upper floors saw some smoke damage, but the fire itself didn’t travel above the storefront, he explained. The store’s tin ceiling ultimately helped save the building above it.

Now, the shop has a refrigerator, and the A/C unit has been moved.

“It’s much less likely to happen again,” Kessler said. “Though it was such a freak accident, it was unlikely to happen in the first place.”

The fire provided the shop some odd discoveries, like a fully intact, full-body “Wonder Woman” costume tucked away inside the ceiling.

“You got to see the skeleton of the building,” Kessler explained. “Everything inside — no mysteries anymore.”

Integral Yoga Institute, which has an ashram for yoga students and a store that carries food and body products, opened in 1974. The vitamin shop opened in the ’90s.

Nearly all of the merchandise in the store is sold at a discount, with the market price listed above the store price on every label. On top of those discounts, students and seniors 62 and older get an additional 10 percent off.

“New York City is a very competitive market for vitamin stores,” Srebnick said. “We’re certainly not looking to lose money, but we want to give our customers the best deal we can.”

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