Thanks so much for your continued support; we are moving forward but it looks like we will have a temporary setup for a quite a while before we will have a shop to move into again. Nevertheless we are encouraged by the concern of our customers and friends.
Here is what happened and where we are now:
At 3.30am on Monday the 23rd February we were woken up by the shocking phone call that the butchery was on fire! The crackling of the burning had woken up our staff who live behind the building. We grabbed some fire extinguishers from the house but as we arrived and saw the flames leaping about 10m above the building it was clear that our little fire extinguishers were going to do very little to help the situation!
My sons and staff rushed into the outer buildings and threw out as much of our property as possible, and thankfully managed to get all of the gas bottles clear of the building. Unfortunately the most valuable equipment was in the main building and our cash safe was completely destroyed by the fire. The only survivors were 5 red smiley-face mugs (See photos)!
One of our staff was highly commended for phoning for a fire truck from Chinhoyi that took a while to get to us but managed to put out the fire. Without the fire truck the whole building would have been destroyed. As the sun came up reality dawned on us that this wasn’t just a (very) bad dream! After some investigation it looked as if the fire had started with an electrical fault in one of the biltong dryers and had built up in there, bursting out into the rest of the room. After a family meeting we resolved that this setback was not going to make us close our doors; we would serve our customers from the veranda. So we rushed down with tables and whatever equipment we could find at home and started slicing tomatoes and hanging biltong and trying to put together a temporary shop ready for our customers returning from their mid-term getaways.
We were so chuffed to receive so much encouragement from everyone passing through! It was really special to hear how much people care, and that our little place is such a service to people.
We have had time to assess the damage in the past few weeks and get an idea of what it is going to take to rebuild. Unfortunately we have to pull down the old walls which we were hoping to keep as they have great sentimental value to us, but they are not going to make it. So in our rebuilding plans we will improve the shop in design but we don’t want to lose its homely welcoming atmosphere. As a family we have cleaned the place up and reinforced whatever is still standing. We are getting ourselves organized to cope with the April holidays which we are looking forward to. We are still open as usual and supply our full range of butchery products and Saucey Sue’s rolls. We have fixed the toilets up again and replaced the melted seats with new ones. Long term we are working together as a family to re-design the interior and provide our customers with an even more enjoyable stop as part of their travels.
We are so appreciative of the support we have had from people; we have received $1200 in our building account, $2000 from a friend, some roofing to go over our toilets, and tremendous help from Montana Meats who have helped us out with our meat account, some equipment and work tables etc. We just thank everyone for their encouragement and we keep moving forward!