ELLESMERE PORT business owners are counting the cost of the Chester Enterprise Centre blaze and are struggling to find alternative premises.
The blaze which ripped through the building on Thursday morning has left more than 50 businesses without a base.
Karen Cioma-Park of Ellesmere Port and Gaynor Davies, owners of Chester Travel Connection, were devastated when they realised their office had been consumed in the fire.
On Thursday morning, on learning of the blaze, the pair set up a temporary office in Gaynor’s spare bedroom.
Gaynor said: “I first had a phone call at about 7am. I wasn’t sure whether it was my business. I just live down the road so I threw on some come clothes and shuffled down there.
“Initially the police told me it was the builders merchants, but when I caught a glimpse of where it was I realised it was our building. I was gobsmacked.”
That is when Gaynor realised she would have to find somewhere alternative to work from.
“I have set up an office in my spare bedroom. I have clients who are abroad or going travelling that rely on us. It is just frantic.”
Gaynor and Karen have been plunged into a period of uncertainty. They wish to get back into the building to see if anything survived the fire and are also frantically looking for alternative business premises.
Gaynor added: “We have quite specific needs, and a great deal of the business premises offered to us just aren’t suitable.
“We are open for business and actually very busy. We are now offering home visits, so we will come out to Ellesmere Port to visit.”
Nick Thompson, of Little Sutton, who runs Lemondrop Creative, which designs leaflets and programmes and was based in Chester Enterprise Centre, said years of work had been destroyed.
He 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 has offered us temporary accommodation but that is not really good enough.
“We need somewhere permanent and fast.”