A 3-1/2 month slog is over for Level 13 Theme Rooms and Costume Hire.

The Eruera St business finally reopening yesterday after a nearby pipe burst in May, leaving the premises covered in knee-deep water.

Owners Debbie Rowles and Jeff Flitton lease a large costume storage room, five other rooms they are converting into party rooms, a meeting room, a toilet, kitchen, and laundry.

Rowles described it as "a big fat mess" when she spoke to the Rotorua Daily Post in June.


"Basically every single thing that was in a box on the floor is ruined."

She considered closing down the business.

"I was ready to walk away from it all when it was all so stressful. I have aged 10 years in three weeks," she said in June.

There were 700 items on the loss sheets then, now there are 1500.

The business' insurance covered 60 per cent of the stock value.

"A specialist came for the assessments. They were considered second-hand goods but 60 per cent is better than nothing. It could have been much worse," Rowles said.

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Debbie Rowles had to move all of her costumes out, and inspect the damage. Photo / File
Debbie Rowles had to move all of her costumes out, and inspect the damage. Photo / File

She is "very relieved" to welcome customers again this week.

"We have replaced the costumes where possible, I still have some platforms shoes coming that are with customs, but some things we just can't."

The theme rooms are still being repaired, and there were a few final coats of paint left to do.

Rowles previously had Victoria Grove Costume Hire on White St for 13 years.

Her costume storage was also flooded there, when the roof leaked next door and water went down the walls.

She rebranded and moved her business to Eruera St this year.

"We lost 86 patterns that time, and we lost another 30 in this one."

Rowles also lost all of her costume display books and every vintage handbag she owned.

Her furniture was badly hit, including tables and 16 chairs that she had recovered.

Even the fire doors were damaged - 12 were blown off their frames.

Rowles said "keeping busy" had got her through the "devastating" closure period this winter.

"We used some of the time to do things we have never had time to do. We took loads of photos of costumes for the display books and labelled things ...

"We could still do with more if anyone wants to email in pictures of their times in our costumes."