Small business owners across Canada know that, while it is uncommon, disaster can strike at any moment. There are many elements over which even the most meticulous owners have little control, and that includes disasters such as frozen pipes, loss of electricity, and fire. Recently, a retail business in Didsbury, Alberta – about an hour north of Calgary – learned this the hard way, as a fire destroyed a processing plant that was vital to its ongoing success.
River Rock Angus – a store in Didsbury selling beef products including burgers, roasts, and jerky – was recently put in a difficult situation, as a fire destroyed its meat processing facility just outside of town in mid-March, according to a report from the Carstairs Courier. While no one was hurt in the fire, it was large enough to attract firefighting crews from Didsbury, Carstairs, and Olds to extinguish the blaze. An investigation into the cause of the fire was recently completed, but the results have not yet been made public.
“We were doing all our processing at River Rock,” Dereck Van Sickle, who owns both the retail store and the processing plant with his wife, told the newspaper the day after the fire. “We’ll be tight on supply at the store until we find another processor. It’s too early to say what comes next. The investigation into the cause has just been completed.”
Dereck and Andrea Van Sickle say that they haven’t yet determined how this issue will be covered by their insurance policies, but the building appears to be a total loss, the report said. It had been closed for about a decade before the Van Sickles bought it to help their retail business along, and only reopened the facility less than a year ago. The Van Sickles are beef farmers by trade, and have been for three generations. They specialize in selling natural beef with limited use of antibiotics, no hormones, and homegrown forages.
A risk in the area?
While the cause of this fire hasn’t yet been revealed, it should be noted that there had been more than a few outdoor blazes reported in the area for some time, the report said. Mountain View County had recently imposed both total and partial fire bans, and one was still ongoing when this fire happened. Even now, the use of open or recreational fires, and fireworks, are prohibited unless they are controlled in an approved fire pit. Even many fires indoors – except in acceptable fireplaces or barbecues – likewise remain restricted. Even those with fire permits have had those permits suspended because of the risk.
Small business owners need to be aware of the risks they face in the everyday operations of their companies, no matter how minor those risks seem to be. That’s because if something goes wrong, they could be put in a potentially perilous situation. Reviewing safety measures and also making sure they have the right kind of insurance for their needs is therefore vital to their ongoing success.