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Remember, remember,

Our passion are the true phoenixes; when the old one is burnt out, a new one rises from its ashes.

Two blog posts in the same newsletter on the same topic might seem over the top, but I make no excuses.

In the week when the HSE is working to remind people of the fire risks involved with timber frame buildings, it seems appropriate to congratulate Carvers on their endeavours over the last two and a half years.

This Saturday sees the official opening of the rebuilt, bigger, better Carvers of Wolverhampton. And what a transformation.

We’ve been following the Carver’s rebuild quite closely here in BMJ via the blogs and news stories and published updates. In much the same way as, thanks to the internet, Twitter and live-news-streaming, I watched in horror on February 29 2012 as the local TV news showed the smoke billowing down Littles Lane, bringing Wolverhampton to a standstill.

Henry Carver’s TV interview at the time had me (and countless others, I’m told) reaching for the hanky as he expressed his profound thanks that everyone got out safely and vowed to “regroup and rebuild”.

As anyone who has ever had to deal with anything like this knows, the problems don’t end when the fire dies down and the clearing up is finished. Insurance companies, planning departments, loss adjusters – all of them have to be dealt with and appeased before you even get to the stage of actually rebuilding something. Then there’s the hassle of proving to the insurers how much business has been lost so that suitable claims and compensation can be calculated.

Carvers took the opportunity to rebuild bigger and better, rethinking how they and their customers interact together – the Drive Through warehouse is a case in point. Done before elsewhere, certainly, but new to Carvers and their customers.

The Builders Village of franchised complementary businesses expands Carver’s offering as well, allowing them to sell a wider range of goods to a wider range of customers.

Of course, Carvers are not the only merchants to have struggled against the odds in the wake of devastating fires and come out the other end battered but triumphant. From the ashes of Bence’s warehouse in Cheltenham came the glory that is the Obsidian bathroom and kitchen showroom. WJ Lewis battled long and hard with both insurance companies and planners in the rebuild of their premises, attacked by arson in January 2010. Hale & Co in Drybrook re-built their sales office, warehousing and plumbing and heating centre in three phases following a fire in 2009.

As Nietzsche put it, that which doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.

Good luck to everyone at Carvers – and well done for hanging on in there.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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