ABOUT 50 Chester Enterprise Centre business owners saw their world turn upside down when their offices were destroyed in a blaze last Thursday.
On Monday about 20 business owners met Cheshire West and Chester Council officers at the HQ building to discuss what was being done to help them find alternative accommodation.
Business owners told the officers they needed more help to find alternative accommodation and buy new equipment to get them up and running.
The traders also expressed frustration at not being able to get hold of mail, as well as concerns over security at the site.
Helen Conway of Bodywork-Pilates, which was based in the centre, said: “I had about £30,000 worth of pilates equipment in that building, and it looks like it might all be gone.
“I am hoping we will be allowed in soon to see if anything survived but I am not holding out too much hope.”
Stephen Levy of mobile phone maintenance firm MobileEase says his business is still up and running but also needs to know if anything is salvageable.
He said: “I had about 20 phones in the office, so I need to know whether anything survived, because I need to tell my customers.”
Nick Thompson, who runs Lemondrop Creative, which designs leaflets and programmes, said: “We have been in the centre for three years but had 16 years’ worth of work stored there. It is just devastating.
“The council offered us temporary accommodation but that is not really good enough.”
Karen Cioma-Park, of Ellesmere Port, and Gaynor Davies, owners of Chester Travel Connection, said their business is still up and running from Gaynor’s spare bedroom while they look for alternative accommodation.
Gaynor added: “We have quite specific needs, and a great deal of the business premises offered to us by the council just aren’t suitable.
“We are open for business and actually very busy. We are now offering home visits.”
James Falconer moved into his office in the Enterprise Centre the day before it was destroyed by the blaze.
James was opening up a new Chester office for his Birkenhead business Care Temps.
He said: “Everything was still in boxes. I was hoping to go into the office on Thursday and start sorting everything out.
“We hadn’t even been in there 24 hours. What is upsetting for me is the few personal items that were in there that have gone. I keep thinking if only I hadn’t taken them with me.”
Council spokeswoman Shirley Wingfield added: “A third of all businesses are now based in temporary accomodation. Our economic development team are working closely with companies involved.
“Twelve of the businesses have short to medium term accomodation at Chester University, and other businesses are considering temporarily locating there.
“The remaining businesses are either working from home or are looking for long term accommodation or are viewing commercial properties.”