Owner of Rainbow Wholefoods thanks community after devastating fire

PUBLISHED: 18:27 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 20:13 27 April 2018

Owner of Rainbow Wholefoods, Richard Austin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Owner of Rainbow Wholefoods, Richard Austin. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

A business owner has praised the Norwich community for its support in the weeks after his shop was devastated by fire.

Fire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine ScottFire at Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard. Photo: Geraldine Scott

Rainbow Wholefoods’ premises, in Labour In Vain Yard off Guildhall, were gutted by a blaze at 8pm on April 11.

But just over a fortnight later, owner Richard Austin has sung the praises of the city as he revealed a temporary store will open in a matter of days.

He said: “We are 41 years old and have been building this project for a long, long time so it has been devastating and really shocking for us.

“But the support from the local community and businesses around us has been so great.

“That’s just Norwich at its complete and utter best and it has helped more than you can know.

“It has helped us get over the impact and shock of it. On the practical side of things we know how hard we can work but emotionally it has been difficult and that support has been fantastic for us.”

Once the legal requirements are completed Mr Austin said he is hoping to open in the former Rock Collection shop on Lower Goat Lane, with members of the public having offered to help the team of 11 get the store in order.

He said: “We have had a fantastic response from customers who have got in touch to say they will help us move so we are going to get a lot of people we know to get stuff on shelves and we are hoping we will be open in no more than a few days.”

Mr Austin said it is believed the fire started in the motor of a refrigerator but added that without a neighbour reporting the blaze the building could have been even more damaged.

He said: “We are very grateful to the person who reported it and to the Norfolk fire service because without them the building would not have been saved.

“We lost everything we had there but it could have been even worse.”

Mr Austin said experts had told him it would be six months before the business could return to the shop which had made it a necessity to find an alternative site.

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