A Sudbury shop destroyed in the devastating town centre fire in September is to reopen next month, the final shop to do so following the blaze.
Staff and volunteers were left in tears after being told Oxfam’s Market Hill charity shop had been completely destroyed by the fire which started in the neighbouring Celebrities Nails on September 6, last year.
Reduced to rubble, it will be more than nine months since the fire when it finally moves to its new location on June 10.
“It’s just unbelievable, I can’t explain how happy we are,” said area manager Emma Creasey. “It’s totally amazing, like a phoenix rising from the ashes. The team can’t wait to get their teeth into it.”
Finding out about the fire from a text, Mrs Creasey said it left staff in tears.
“I saw pictures of it. It’s really weird, it’s just a job but to see it up in flames, it shocks you.
“The first thing I did was to ring our staff. They were very tearful, for several weeks they couldn’t talk about it.”
While it took some businesses affected just days to reopen and others several months to find new homes, Mrs Creasey said they knew it would be impossible to find a new location during the Christmas build-up.
Missing this important season for trading has cost the charity dearly.
Its estimated the shop lost at least £100,000 in stock and equipment alone, not taking into account the months of sales lost, preventing the shop from being able to support the charity’s numerous projects.
But despite the fire, and the heartache caused, Mrs Creasey praised her staff who she said have worked tirelessly.
This work has secured a new home in the former Javelin outlet store, further down Friars Street from the old shop which sat on the junction with Market Hill in the 18th Century former Goldsmith’s Mansion.
“The volunteers have been amazing, about 75 per cent of them from before the fire have returned and have been helping to look for premises,” said Mrs Creasey.
“Eight months is a long time, they could have gone and volunteered somewhere else.”
Although the shop is much smaller than the previous one Mrs Creasey insisted it would offer all the same things.
She is now hoping the town will rally round the store and venture down Friars Street, which has had its well publicised problems with footfall since the fire.
“The people of Sudbury have hung on our story and supported us. I believe they will be there to support us again.
“We’ve had people stopping and offering to help. I think it’s going to be really good.”
It may have taken nine months but the final shop which had to close due to the fire is finally rising from the ashes.