GAUTAM Gautam recalls vividly the pain he felt as he watched his deli go up in flames.
Known as Gem, the owner of the Busy Bee Deli in Como has rebuilt the business after a fire in an adjoining shop severely damaged his business on October 13 in 2015.
“One of my customers called me on the night and I quickly ran to the shop but it had already gone up in flames,” he said.
“All the stock and equipment was destroyed, the damage was estimated at about $150,000 and I was only partly insured.
“It was very painful, I hope that nothing happens like this to anyone else; when I saw the bushfires around Waroona and Yarloop in January it really affected me because it reminded me of the pain.
Mr Gautam said the process to re-opening the business was very tough and he needed an extreme level of patience.
“It took a long time waiting for me to get the keys from the owners of the property, I had no experience from starting from scratch like this,” he said.
“I had to deal with the council, architects and tradies and learn a lot. The fire happened on October 13 last year and I re-opened on November 13 this year, but I’m not a superstitious person.”
Mr Gautam said the support of the community spurred him on to re-open the business during a 13-month period when he was unemployed.
“The support of my lovely wife, my family and the regular customers all helped me because they gave me positive messages.
“I’m very happy that it’s open now, I had plenty of people knock on my door while the renovations were going on and they asked me when the deli would open.
“Some of the businesses gave me discounts, which made me feel so thankful to be well looked after.”