LAST year was a devastating year for the team at Hinchliffe’s.
After a fire tore through the farm shop and restaurant in July, Simon Hirst and his team wondered how they’d pick up the pieces.
But they rallied round and are now fully back in business and raring to go for 2011 – in their new temporary home.
And they’re looking ahead to a year Simon hopes will be a lot better.
Simon, the general manager, said: “We’re hoping for a better and much calmer 2011 than 2010 was.
“It was a devastating year – it was a shock.
“For six months we’ve been working so hard to get back up and running.
“Our customers have been brilliant, sometimes the power goes down and the tills are off, but they are very patient and good humoured about it.
“What happened with the fire was just awful, but it’s given us an opportunity to start over.
“We’re working with architects and finalising plans, then we need to submit them for planning approval.
“We could be in the temporary marquee for 18 months. We won’t stay here for longer than we need to be, but we want to get it right first time.”
Late one July night the Netherton shop, butchery, Old Farmhouse restaurant and tea rooms, plastic tunnel greenhouse and offices were all destroyed when a fire ripped through Sunnyside Farm.
About 200 chickens died, but all other livestock survived the blaze.
Within weeks they were up and running in a portable building, initially selling eggs, bread and potatoes.
By September a giant marquee allowed them to re-open the shop and restaurant at Netherton Moor Road.
And by December they were taking their usual Christmas orders to meat.
They’ve now set up home in a 900sq/m large marquee on the same premises.
Simon, the great grandson of Hinchliffe’s founder Allan Hinchliffe, said: “We got into the temporary home a week before Christmas, the only things to be finished at the back of house is the staff room, but for the customers it’s business as usual.
“Things were a bit fraught but our customers have been so understanding.
“The run up to Christmas was just as busy although it was steady all the time rather than busy in the mornings, usually we’d have people rattling at the gates at 7am.
“We were more worried about the power going down than anything else.
“But it was Christmas as usual and we’re looking ahead now to a better 2011.”