Warehouse Stationery returns a year after devastating blaze

By abbey.hartevelt@dailypost.co.nz, Abigail Hartevelt

Rotorua's Warehouse Stationery is about to open the doors to its new store after the previous building burned down a year ago today.

The new store will open on Tuesday morning or possibly Monday afternoon on the same site.

Warehouse Stationery general manager of operations and property Paul Gianotti said he would never forget December 15, 2011, when he got the call to say the Rotorua store was on fire.

Mr Gianotti, who is based in Auckland, said he remembered the "sinking feeling" he had when he turned on the television and saw how big the fire was and then flying to Rotorua to see the damage.

"Seeing the damage first-hand was a humbling and quite emotional moment," Mr Gianotti said.

The 15 staff moved into a temporary and much smaller site at Rotorua Central while the new store was being built.

Mr Gianotti said the new building was slightly bigger than the one it was replacing.

It has sprinklers and a slightly different layout to the previous store.

He said well over $2 million had been spent on the rebuild and some of that had been covered by insurance. An additional four to five staff had been employed.

Mr Gianotti had nothing but praise for the staff.

"Initially, it was traumatising for them ... we had a new [temporary] store in 30 days. They just got on with it."

He said staff had done a fantastic job of making the best of the situation. "It's a credit to them."

Completing the rebuild in a year and three days was a huge achievement, he said. A grand opening was planned for early in the new year.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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