DAVID O. Jones Mitre 10 owner Simon Jones was holding down the fort at his Stawell store when the wild weather hit Ararat on Tuesday night.
“Our Stawell store got flooded in December 2011, during the big floods,” he said.
“On Tuesday night I could see it was absolutely pouring down rain again and was watching the water rising out the back. Little did I know I was at the wrong store.”
It was his recently renovated Ararat store that was hit this time. It was directly in the path of Tuesday night’s storm.
Mitre 10 staff told Mr Jones, who took over the store in January, a tornado had gone through the store.
“We didn’t know what to think at that stage,” he said.
He said the weather system went through the store’s front timber yard, ripping a roller door off its tracks.
Mr Jones said the bottom of the door wound up wrapped around a delivery truck.
Sheets of iron were ripped off the store roof, and the back fence was flattened.
“But it missed our retail section, which was quite good,” Mr Jones said.
“If it had gone 50 metres the other way, it would have caused a lot more damage to our stock.”
Mr Jones was also thankful the store was shut.
“It could have been disastrous, had we had staff and customers at the store,” he said.
Despite the damage, the store was open again on Wednesday.
Mitre 10 was one of few buildings in the area that did not lose power.
The hole in the roof was patched with a tarpaulin, with the assistance of State Emergency Service volunteers.
A temporary fence was built at the store’s rear.
“Really, only the roller door was a major issue – it will be a matter of securing the place with it missing,” Mr Jones said.
He estimated repairs could cost up to $15,000.
But he said the people who had their homes damaged were the ones he sympathised with.
“Ours is only a business,” Mr Jones said.
“We were very fortunate it was essentially over our building and a sporting field.
“If it had dropped over a residential area, it would have been a different story.”