An unlucky Birmingham pharmacist whose shop had been destroyed twice in the past year by both a tornado and fire, at last has reason to celebrate as he finally re-opens his new look pharmacy to the public.
Sirpal Chemists located in Sparkbrook, Birmingham, was officially opened by Sonia Deol a radio presenter for BBC Asian Network, during an open day which included a buffet lunch laid on by wholesalers Mawdsleys.
Owner of Sirpal Chemists, Rakesh Sirpal, explains events over the last 12 months: “I thought that things couldn’t get any worse after the tornado which struck parts of Birmingham last July, also devastated one of my pharmacies. That was until the same pharmacy was destroyed again when a fire swept through the building just six months later!
“At the time the tornado hit Birmingham I was on holiday in Sharm el Sheik in Egypt, where only a few days earlier we’d escaped terrorist bombs. I received a text message from a friend saying there had been a tornado in Sparkbrook, although at that time I had no idea just how shocking the damage would be. It was only when I arrived back in Birmingham I realised the extent of the devastation. Tree’s were uprooted, cars overturned and the road where my pharmacy is had been cordoned off by police. It looked like a bomb had hit the whole area.”
Rakesh, who has owned pharmacies in the area for 21 years and has three other shops in Solihull and Sparkbrook, continues: “After the tornado times were difficult, but we had almost recovered financially by Christmas. Then the fire hit us in January and we had to close again. Watching my business burning in front of me was heartbreaking.
“Fortunately, I own another pharmacy on the same street and operated from there. This meant I was still able to retain and provide a service for some of our existing customers. If it hadn’t been for my other shop, I would have without doubt lost all my business.”
Despite the catastrophic chain of events, Rakesh remains positive: “After the pharmacy was destroyed by the fire, I decided to take the opportunity to re-design the layout. We now have a new large consultancy and treatment room and can offer additional services such as acupuncture and chiropody. The dispensary has also been re-designed to be more open plan and welcoming for customers.
“During the rebuild, Mawdsleys were particularly helpful and supportive. For example, we lost all our computer records during the fire and Mawdsleys were invaluable helping to check our old order records to ensure that we had the correct stock in for customers when we re-opened. It has been wonderful to watch the pharmacy be transformed from a burnt out shell to a new and modern pharmacy and I hope that all customers, old and new, will appreciate it.”
For further information, please contact Alison Duffy or Sarah Hooley at Bell Pottinger North.
Tel: 01625 506444