Graeme Cunningham, the CEO of the Betta Stores Retail Group, has issued a brief statement offering condolences and support to Raul Aiello, owner of the Betta Home Living outlet destroyed in a devastating blaze on Saturday 9 November 2013:
Betta Home Living offers heartfelt thoughts to Raul Aiello, owner of Kingsford Betta Home Living, post the horrific blaze over the weekend. Having only been with the group since early 2013, Betta Head Office extend their support to Kingsford Betta and look to assist the store where possible to ensure all measures are taken to help assist the retailer in this time of need.
New South Wales Police is currently investigating the cause of this fire, which is estimated to have caused more than $2.5 million in damage.
“A report will be prepared for the Coroner after a large fire at an electrical store at Kingsford overnight destroyed the building and its contents,” said a Police spokesperson. “The two storey building was well alight upon the arrival of fire fighters and police.
“A perimeter was established with nearby residents evacuated and several roads in the vicinity closed. Fire and Rescue NSW eventually extinguished the blaze but the building and its contents were completely destroyed.”
Aiello joined the Betta group from Retravision at the turn of 2013, following the sale of the Retravision brand to Narta and the dividing up of members between various groups.
Industry sources have been quick to offer support to Aiello, who is well-regarded in the Narta Group, with former Retravision colleagues and among suppliers.
“Raul is a good friend of ours and we are so sorry to hear of this fire,” said former Retravision colleague David Hunt, now with Leading Appliances at Rozelle. “Raul has had a run of bad luck, with the Retravision debacle in 2012 now this in 2013. We look forward to seeing the now Betta Home Living Kingsford up and running again as soon as possible. Our hearts go out to management there and the workers affected. ”
“Every person I’ve met at Betta, up to and including Graeme Cunningham has been extremely nice,” Aiello said in a recent interview with Appliance Retailer. “But changing the system from something we’ve known for 19 years to something new has been a lot of effort and work. And changing supplier accounts again: I can’t imagine anyone loves that!”
Aiello is also the proprietor of aus-appliances.com.au, an online electrical appliance store. A note has been posted on this website advising that:
Due to a fire at our main premises we will not be accepting/processing orders until further notice.
A website called FreeNews.com.au posted this video of the fire to YouTube:
People with information about this incident are advised to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.