Norwich store moves back home one year after devastating fire
PUBLISHED: 14:55 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 02 May 2019
The owner of a Norwich wholefoods store which was gutted by fire a year ago has thanked customers for their support after the shop moved back into its old premises.
Rainbow Wholefoods in Labour in Vain Yard was left a blackened shell by the fire which took hold on the night of April 11, 2018.
The shop relocated to the former Rock Collection building in Lower Goat Lane just a month later, with many members of the public offering to help fit out the temporary store.
But this week Rainbow moved back home following months of hard graft to renovate the burnt-out building, which was saved due to the quick action of neighbours who spotted the blaze.
Richard Austin, owner of Rainbow Wholefoods, said: “It was an extraordinary year. I have never been so tired in all my life, but it has been fun and our public stayed with us.
“When you do a job all the time people do not really give you much praise, but people have been so kind to us and really kept our spirits up when we moved into the temporary shop and now they are doing it again. We are getting a sense of people appreciating our work which is very heartening.”
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Due to vehicle access issues around Lower Goat Lane, Rainbow Wholefoods staff spent the weekend moving all of the shop's stock and equipment on pallets down Guildhall Hill to Labour in Vain Yard.
Since reopening on Monday Mr Austin said trading have been “very brisk”.
“We are all a bit tired but the public are very happy to see us back,” he said.
“Lower Goat Lane is a very lively street, sometimes a little too lively. Our yard is right in the middle of the city but it is quiet and peaceful, particularly appropriate for us.”
Vegetarian restaurant Wild Thyme, which occupied the building's first floor, was also badly damaged by the fire. It began trading again two months ago and Mr Austin said it had been “rammed” with customers.
Rainbow Wholefoods has been trading in Norwich for more than 40 years and now supplies a range of wholefoods, organic and ethically sourced products as well as vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
Mr Austin said the community effort to help the store move into temporary premises after the fire showed Norwich “at its complete and utter best”.