Some people simply jump online to view our tile selection....Others opt to drive a car through the building to get up close and personal with the tiles.
No one wants to get a phone call at 2.30am on a Sunday morning from the police. It's terrifying and you find yourself thinking of every possible bad scenario.
For us that is exactly what happened last Sunday morning. The police called to inform us that a car had smashed through the wall of the showroom.
Our showroom is located on the corner of a reasonably busy road (Southland Rd & Eastbourne St, Hastings) and we have witnessed more than our fair share of accidents (someone please put a roundabout there). This particular accident was a little more than the usual fender-bender. Police informed us that a man had been spotted by police leaving a nearby bar and getting into his car. When the police turned on their lights to pull him over for a breath test he fled. Having a suspended drivers license on top of being over the legal limit to drive means one hefty punishment was on the cards.
Now I'm no race car driver but I'm going to bet that a corner, wet from the rain, combined with excessive speed isn't going to be a walk in the park. Add being completely inebriated to the mix and things are going to end badly.
In the time it took the police to put their car into drive, the offender had covered two blocks in what could almost be classed as an attempt to break some sort of land speed record as well as avoid prosecution.
The police advised us that they didn't see the crash as the driver was too far ahead of them. They found him easily enough as they approached the corner. The road was wet after the rain and combine that with excessive speed meant that the corner was going to be a challenge for even the most experienced racing driver. This driver was no exception. He managed to do a pretty good job of driving through the side of our showroom instead of making the turn.
Fortunately the owners of the building who live upstairs were away at the time. I can only imagine how frightening that would be having a car smash through the building below.
The police managed to track down Ross's number and inform him of the incident. By 3am Ross arrived at the shop to find a good portion of the side wall smashed.
With little he could do till assistance arrived and armed with only a long wooden ruler Ross spent the rest of the night at the building ensuring no passers-by could help themselves to what remained of our store.
The morning came and Ross was relieved to have long time employee Craig come and assist in the clean up. Once word spread others were quick to show up and offer assistance. One of the first to arrive was Murray Palmer who helped clean up the majority of the broken tiles and display stands. This also allowed Ross and Craig to get timber and supplies to secure the side of the building.
Ross's brother in-law Jared arrived with tools that he had picked up from home. Damian Pipe from Rockett Tiling and his wife Amanda also came to lend a hand and were instrumental in helping secure the building. They did such a good job of bracing and securing the building that even the builder who came the following day was impressed. Way to go team!
By mid Sunday afternoon we were able to wrap things up and thank our volunteers with a late lunch at Eastbourne St Cafe.
The week that followed is a bit of a haze to be honest. Sleep deprived from the weekend and faced with the monumental task of trying to organise the showroom into some sort of functioning space (and with a staff member away on annual leave) we can say that a lot of coffee was consumed but even the coffee machine decided it was all too much and refused to function occasionally.
It's been a week of insurance assessors, insurance claims, builders and flooring experts swarming the store. Despite the chaos and sleep deprivation we are really proud of the team in their ability to step up and continue to provide tile and flooring solutions to our clients, many of whom had no idea that anything had ever happened.
"I leave you guys alone for a few days and this is what happens?" - Amanda Vautier's - (Tile Shed Operations Manager) response when Craig sends her images of the chaos.
After a relaxing weekend at home catching up on some long over due tasks we are looking forward to focusing our attention on the new showroom that we are renovating just down the road. Watch this space as we bring you updates on the progress but for now - over and out ~ June