Businesses lose everything

2009-08-04 00:00

BUSINESS people at Harwin’s Arcade were yesterday still sifting through the blackened debris, that used to be their businesses, and counting their losses.

Last week, a fire suspected to have been caused by a heater, gutted the historic building and a number of small businesses that operated in the area along with it.

Ike Ampomah, the owner of the Your Choice Hair salon on the ground floor of the building, said he does not even have money to pay rent as he lost everything. “I have to go and speak to my landlord and explain the situation to him because I cannot meet this month’s rent.”

Ampomah said the money that he had made for the week was still at the salon when the premises were gutted.

He showed The Witness the remains of his salon. The fire had spread from the entrance to the back room, scor­ching everything inside the salon and destroying products, equipment and the room itself.

He said the worst thing was that his business was not insured. “All the products and the equipment is gone, and there is no way of recovering them.”

Ampomah said the renovations on his salon cost him a fortune when he moved in. “When I started working here, I furnished the salon … and it cost me about R65 000, and now that’s all gone.”

Lip Govender, the owner of Lips Alterations, said she was one of the lucky few. “I did not lose much stock, however, a lot of the people in the building were completely wiped out.”

She said, although she was not insured, she has managed to move to another place and start over. She said the big problem was that none of the businesses in the arcade were insured.

The owner of the building is currently overseas. His brother said, “he will probably be back by Monday …”

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