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Can, bottles explode at Red Deer lounge following mechanical failure

GoFundMe page has raised more than $4,500
Every can and bottle in the Velvet Olive Lounge’s main bar cooler exploded earlier this week due to a mechanical failure. (Contributed photo)

The community has come together to support a Red Deer lounge that lost many bottles and cans of alcohol due to a mechanical failure in its cooler.

The Velvet Olive Lounge’s owner Kyle Key, said he and his spouse Stephanie came to the business on Tuesday to figure out what needed to be restocked for the week ahead.

“I was expecting a small list as our main bar cooler was fully stocked by our staff on Saturday night. We had just tapped fresh kegs and every row of cans and bottles were full,” Key told The Advocate in an email on Friday.

Upon opening the door of the cooler, the couple saw every bottle and can inside had exploded. Shortly after, they learned the cooler’s temperature sensor had failed.

“Instead of satisfying the call for cold from the condenser, the fan kept blowing freezing cold air long enough to freeze everything in our cooler solid,” Key explained.

“Beer cans and bottles were still exploding as I started to sift through the debris. It took the better part of two days to clean and service the cooler. There was no way to predict that this would happen, but it’s a lot less likely now with a brand new sensor and full checkup and service on our refrigerant system.”

The two started a GoFundMe page, with the goal of raising $2,500, which would replace the inventory and fix the cooler.

“We were hesitant to start a GoFundMe as it has remained our approach to get creative to survive setbacks. However, our exhaustion meter was maxed, and no gas was left in the tank,” said Key.

“If our unexpected expenses are too close together, it jeopardizes our ability to cover overhead. Things like rent, utilities, payroll, government payments, mortgage and groceries for our family are essential to have the opportunity to be small business owners.”

Just two days after launching the online fundraiser, more than $4,500 has been donated.

“We saw donations from our friends, customers, musicians and fellow business owners that echoed the same despair of exhaustion in situations like this,” said Key.

“Our most notable donations were from our neighbouring businesses. It’s nice to know that we were not alone and there is a community behind us and what we do.”

The Velvet Olive Lounge was set to reopen Friday.

“We have a full two months ahead of live music four nights a week. We are co-hosting Red Deer’s first annual Cold Front Music Festival in January and need to refocus on promoting and booking future shows,” said Key.

“It’s always nice when the ‘small business machine’ runs smoothly without the unexpected. This campaign allows us to get moving again and recover promptly from the setback.”

To find the online fundraiser, search “The Velvet Olive Lounge” on

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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