It was not the call I was expecting at 5.30 am on Friday 8th December: “Steve, there is nothing left of your workshop, you had better get here”.
When I arrived, I was shocked by the scene in front of me. Multiple fire engines, fire command centre, aerial ladder, water trucks and water pontoons, with everyone frantically working to bring the blaze under control. The first stop was the command centre to let them know what was in the building: gas cylinders on the forklift, pallets of foam, pallets of timber, paint. Basically, everything that has a natural tendency to burn.
It seems that the fire started at approximately 2.30am. By the time I arrived our workshop was all but gone. More than 100 hire targets vapourised to the size of less than 1 target. The partition wall that we had used the weekend before at the National Indoor Tournament, the star of the event, had a dedicated hose applied to it. Due to it being stacked sheets, it was like setting fire to a telephone directory with all of its tightly packed pages. This burned on for a couple of days longer.
All of our machinery, including the foam cutting bandsaw and new waste compactor, was a twisted mess. My initial thought was for Luke’s Grandad’s old tools that we have stored since he passed, not only for the huge sentimental value, but an undeserved fate after so many years of service. Not to mention my tools that I have had since my apprenticeship back in the day.
The outcome of all this is that we now have a bulging order book, no tools to work with, and no workshop to work from. Friday afternoon was spent in a bit of a panic and a decision that the time had finally come to throw in the towel and find a real job with no responsibility and earn a monthly wage “paid from the neck down”, as Luke describes it.
I posted the news on Facebook, somewhere I have kept away from for a while, but this was the medium that would best get our news out to the archery community, my thoughts with all the orders and tournaments that we had booked for the following season.
It has taken a little while to sink in and we are still a bit numb, however, the support that the archery community has shown since our initial post is so appreciated and has really spurred us on. A quick call to Luke was made after seeing the response, “How about we give it another go?”. His reply was “I am up for it if you are”.
So here we are, six days after the event, not much sleep or food, two of which have been spent looking for alternative workshops and a replacement bandsaw. I have identified a source for a replacement bandsaw and a potential smaller workshop, with an aim to be back operational at the end of January/early February 2024.
Now comes the hard part. Unfortunately, we are not able to do this alone. I wish we were; however, manufacturing archery targets does not bring in the revenue some may think, and it is time for me to swallow my pride and ask for some help.
Anything you are able to contribute towards the purchase of a pre-owned bandsaw would be appreciated.
Thank you all for your support. Without it we wouldn’t even consider making the decision to try and start again.