OWNERS of Portland’s fire-ravaged IGA supermarket have promised their 90 staff they will be back to work as soon as possible.
Daly’s Supa IGA on Percy Street suffered up to $5 million damage when an electrical fault in the roof started a fire on April 29.
Director Michael Daly said the roof and interior fittings would need to be completely replaced, setting an ideal timeline of six months.
Mr Daly said the outpouring of support from the community had been overwhelming, with many customers opting to travel to Daly’s Heywood IGA for their grocery shopping.
“I think us Aussies are pretty good when you’re down and things aren’t going your way,” he said.
“It’s that Aussie tradition that people drop everything and say ‘What can I do?’
“It makes you proud, and people have just been brilliant.
“A lot of our customers are going to Heywood, which is great and we’re more than happy to service them if they go there.
“We have loyal customers and we want to look after them as best we can.
“We’re happy to do deliveries from Heywood as well.
“In adversity there’s always hope and at the end of the day we’ll open, rebuild and start again.
“Ultimately we get a nice new store, but it’s not the ideal way to do that.”
In a meeting last week, Mr Daly vowed to re-employ staff after recovering from the fire in about six to 12 months.
“We are committed to re-employing as many staff as possible once the rebuild has occurred.
“All entitlements will be paid out to assist staff in the short term.
“There’s a lot of emotion and it’s very sad, especially for staff who’ve worked there over 20 years and it’s their life.
“It’s very hard but the Glenelg Shire has been sensational in organising support with banks, Centrelink and grief counselling.
“We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Glenelg Shire mayor Gilbert Wilson said the council had provided recovery support by advising on environmental health, building and landfill immediately after the fire and offering alternative grocery delivery services for IGA home-delivery customers.
“We are very grateful for the support the community has shown so far; everything from the Portland Senior Citizens Club giving up their space for the staff meeting to a $5000 contribution to the Samaritan Fund from United Way Glenelg to help staff under financial stress,” Cr Wilson said.
United Way Glenelg executive officer Nicole Reefman said the organisation wanted to act quickly to help the 90 staff left without jobs after the fire.
“In addition to the United Way Glenelg donation a local business has matched the contribution to the Samaritan Fund…”
She said those wishing to contribute to the Samaritan Fund could phone 0410 513 305 for more information.