LOOK: PMB businessman vows to rebuild after shop burns to the ground
The Pietermaritzburg flagship store caught alight in the early hours of Friday morning.
While authorities could not reveal the cause of the fire as investigations continued, the city’s fire department had to deploy three fire engines to the scene to contain the blaze.
However, sources said it appeared the fire started in Poobie Naidoo’s Sports Warehouse, situated on Boshoff Street.
In an emotional statement issued by the Naidoo family at the weekend, they expressed their sadness but also gratitude to their loyal staff and customers. “Today we lost our home. This home, family, and business all started out of the boot of a car.”
Poobie Naidoo said that on Friday morning, as they watched the building burn, they cried.
“One by one, as our family arrived, they cried with us. We stood by helplessly, as brave men and women fought the blaze,” he said.
Operating for more than 35 years, Poobie Naidoo’s Sports Wholesalers has been one of the leading sport shops in KwaZulu-Natal.
Chief executive of the Pietermaritzburg and Midlands Chamber of Business, Melanie Veness, said they were devastated to hear about the fire.
Veness said that the business was close to their hearts, not only because its flagship store was situated in Pietermaritzburg “but also because it’s a true Cinderella story”.
“A family-owned business that emerged from humble beginnings, from the boot of an old sedan, and that has grown into a formidable business that is loved and supported by many. Our hearts go out to Poobie, Pat and family,” Veness said.
Comrades Marathon Association chairperson Cheryl Winn said: “Poobie’s Naidoo’s Sports Shop has been an absolute institution in Pietermaritzburg for decades, a mega-sports-store which has catered for all sports, but has always had a special connection to running, providing the widest selection of specialist running shoes, apparel and equipment, as well as expert technical advice, catering for special needs and requests, and always supporting the local running fraternity and running clubs.”