FOR nearly a century Michael Daly’s family has run supermarkets in the south-west.
So when a fire incinerated the Daly’s IGA in Portland last year leaving only scorched walls and melted shelves, he vowed to rebuild without delay.
Yesterday the doors opened on the supermarket after nine months of reconstruction work and relocating the business office to a dusty laundromat next door.
“We opened at 9am and there were people lining up out the front,” Mr Daly said.
Around 100 people were placed out of work when millions of dollars went up in flames in April last year.
Mr Daly was in Melbourne on the night and thought little of the first reports, dismissing it as a small switchboard fire.
But his heart sank straight away when he heard more than 70 firefighters had been called in to battle the blaze, which spiked over 2000 degrees inside the inferno.
Around 70 per cent of the building was destroyed, with only the walls remaining.
“We came back to ground zero — it was like a bomb had gone off,” he said.
But Mr Daly and his sons, who gave up their holidays, set about piecing back together the family business.
“The last month has been 16-hour days, I was looking for matchsticks to keep my eyes open.”
Yesterday’s opening showcased the latest in environmentally-friendly design with double-glazed windows, special insulation and roofing all designed to minimise energy usage.
Much of the new building has been built with locally-sourced supplies and tradesmen — all of whom Mr Daly thanked for the reconstruction effort.
He also thanked the Glenelg Shire Council for streamlining planning support.