Nearly 14 months after a fire completely destroyed a well-known farm equipment business in Summerside, the company is starting to rebuild at the same location.
The fire, which started at 11 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2016, leveled the Green Diamond Equipment building on the Locke Shore Road. The shop and its contents, including vehicles and equipment, were lost.
Now, after more than a year of planning, construction has begun on a new home for the business.
Jeff Wood, the brand operations manager, said the new building is "dramatically larger" than the old one.
"There was never any doubt what we were going to rebuild and be here," he said. "It's a good business, and we want to be here for our customers."
Since the fire, the business has been operating out of a hangar at Slemon Park. They are looking forward to getting back to their more-visible location along Route 2, where there was more drop-in traffic.
"Everyday people would be driving by and they would pull in, 'Oh, I need to pick up a little item,' they'll swing in, and then you never know what they might see," Wood said. "They might see a new tractor in the showroom and say, 'I'd like to talk to a salesman about that,' so that drop-in traffic is very important to any business really if you're geared to the public.
The new building will have an overhead crane for the service department. There will also be additional storage space for the parts department, large display area and showroom.
The company is also installing a large water storage area under the floor, which will be tied into a sprinkler system in the building, Wood said. It will have its own generator with a pump that will kick in automatically if a fire starts.
"We never had one in our old building obviously. We never want to go through this again."
Construction is expected to take several months to complete, Wood said. Crews are doing concrete work to finish the foundation, as well as steel work, but everything is on schedule.
The company plans to re-open in March, just before the spring farming season. Additional staff will likely be hired, Wood said.
"As soon as we can get in the door, we'll be up and running and ready to go for our spring rush," Wood said.
"We're hoping they're done in March so that we have those couple of weeks to get into it and get settled and be ready to go."
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