IT’S been tough year for Redstar Foodservice after it was forced to close following a fire that caused £200,000 of damage to the business.
The wholesaler in Portfield Industrial Estate, Nevil Shute Road, Hilsea, Portsmouth, was damaged when the plumbers’ merchants next door caught fire on September 20 last year.
But yesterday marked a new start for the company, as it celebrated reopening with a party and a visit from the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth David Fuller.
Owner Ramazan Yilmaz said: ‘The fire was horrible. It was 4.30am when I got a call from the security company saying “there’s a fire”. So half-asleep I rushed to the store and was there within 15 minutes.
‘There was thick black smoke, I couldn’t believe that it was my building on fire.
‘You always hear about things like this happening but you never think it would happen to you.
‘To have something like that happen to you, you don’t feel good. It demoralises you, but today it feels good that we are here again and on the road to building the business back up.’
The company, which is a food distribution business with its head office in Southampton, employs 30 people – with four working at the cash-and-carry outlet in Portsmouth.
Operations manager Harj Sunder said: ‘We have a large customer base in Portsmouth and we wanted to show them our commitment, and that we want to build our business here.’
Branch manager Carl Jackson, from Copnor, has been hired to run the business.
He said: ‘It has been a lot of hard work but it was worth it.’
Cllr Fuller was taken on a tour of the cash and carry, which also stocks a wide range of Turkish products and is open to the public.
He said: ‘This business is like a phoenix rising from the ashes. They have not let the fire deter them and they have carried on.
‘It would have been easy to go elsewhere so it’s good to see a small business that has stuck with it, especially after all they have gone through.’