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The team were celebrating on Saturday after their store finally re-opened, exactly a year to the day after a huge fire left their store in tatters.
The blaze, which ripped through the neighbouring historic Market Inn in Salisbury city centre, caused extensive damage to the Costa store and an adjoining restaurant. At one point 75 fire fighters were involved in bringing the fire under control.
And for store manager Asa Aldridge, 34, the re-opening was very special. “The fire was very harrowing for me and everybody who worked here,” he said.
“So to have a lovely, clean new store ready and open for business is fantastic. I’d spent six years working here and I remember the fire like it was yesterday.
“I started getting calls at three in the morning, telling me about the fire. I was down here in the early hours of the morning with some of my team and the fire had caused a terrible mess.”
After quickly assessing the damage, Asa spent the next few days making sure his staff had work in other Costa stores and has spent the last year looking after them and helping with getting the Salisbury premises ready to re-open.
He won praise from his colleagues for the way he worked tirelessly to make sure his staff were employed elsewhere in the company while the work was carried out.
Regional manager Peter Bott said: “Asa has worked non-stop, looking after his staff while helping to open our other Salisbury store and getting the Butcher’s Row premises back up and running. He’s been absolutely fantastic.”
Asa added: “I’m delighted with the way it has turned out. You put your life into something then something like this fire happens and it turns your world upside down.
“When we got in here the scene was terrible. The tables were warped, the light fittings had all come down and there was water and black soot everywhere. To see the place back on its feet is wonderful. I’m very happy.”
Six of the original team are back in the Butcher’s Row store, while others have stayed in Costa’s second store in George Mall.
And customers wasted no time in queuing up for their favourite coffee, brewed to order by the Costa team.
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Andrew Drinkwater (or email email@example.com) on 07799 408611.
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