A South Tyneside businessman is facing a £300,000 challenge to get his business back up and running following a devastating fire which tore through the property.
Brian Cairns, the owner of Jarrow Auction Rooms, in Bede Burn Road, Jarrow, has also told of his gratitude for the support he has received from customers in the wake of a huge fire that took place in the early hours of Friday.
More than 40 firefighters and twelve appliances battled for hours to get the fire under control and an investigation by the emergency services into the cause of the blaze is ongoing.
Mr Cairns, who has run the business for three years – investing more than £100,000 – said he is now looking at having to find about £300,000 to get the Auction Rooms back up and running.
He believes he has lost £50,000 worth of stock in the fire – which included furnishings, wood carvings, cast iron signs and scores of brick-a-brac items.
But he said he has been stunned by the generous donations from the customers and clients who are eager to see the business back up and running.
He said: “We have had so many people get in touch with us trying to help us to do bits and pieces.
“A friend of mine has set up a Just Giving Page and local people have got behind us to try and raise enough money to get it rebuilt.
“Even people who have passed by the church wanted to give me money – someone even offered me £50. “It is fantastic.”
In the meantime he hopes to open a temporary premises in the Jarrow area and is looking for a six to 12-month lease to get it going.
He then hopes that he may be able to keep the second premises open once the original building is repaired.
He said: “I am not expecting people to give £300,000, but just thought it was a good idea to have the page as very little helps.
“A few people with lots that were destroyed have been repaid already, but other people have said they don’t want the money for the stuff, which is really nice.”
Jarrow Auction Rooms is know for selling a whole host of unusual objects and back in September, pieces of North East footballing history went under the hammer with the sale of two 100-year-old half-ton metal turnstiles from St James’ Park.
Mr Cairns added: “I could cry all day about what has happened but you just have to get on with it.
“You are a long time dead.
“I have been in the auction business for around three years and I do it because I love it.” Anyone who is able to provide a short-term lease for a temporary property so that he can reopen his business is asked to contact Brian directly by emailing him on: email@example.com.