Help out Matt and Anne after a devastating fire!
Whakatane, Bay Of Plenty
Imagine pouring your heart and soul into your dream tourism business (in the face of Covid) only to have it burn down days before opening for the busy summer season. This is what has happened to Matt and Anne of Epic Escape, Whakatane – and they need our help.
Here’s their story:
In the early hours of Monday 29 November, Matt and Anne of Epic Escape, Whakatane suffered a devastating fire. A car was driven into the St John Opportunity Shop building below them and caught alight, which quickly spread upstairs completely destroying the business they've spent three years developing. They have poured their heart and soul into building their dream business, and in less than 30 minutes it was gone.
It was an especially cruel blow because Matt, a volunteer firefighter with the Ohope Brigade, was part of the crew who attended and fought the blaze.
Matt and Anne have overcome unprecedented setbacks to keep their business viable over the last few years, including White Island Tours closing its doors and international tourism grinding to a halt due to Covid. With the final room completed and staff employed for the summer, they were gearing up for their busiest season.
Matt also lost his drones and camera gear in the fire, which is used in his Eastern Bay Aerial Imaging business.
While they do have insurance to cover the material losses, they are both now without any form of income as well as losing the assets of 2 businesses.
While financial support will help the couple get back on their feet, the uniquely themed rooms won’t be easy to replicate and rebuild in a hurry. Matt and Anne have put in countless hours trawling Trademe and second hand shops to find specific items perfect for each themed room.
The amount of support Matt and Anne give to the Whakatane community is huge and it's time for us to return the love during this hugely challenging time.
Please donate whatever you can - every little helps!
Matt and Anne are my brother and sister-in-law.
Helping with wages, bills, loss of income and the purchase of replacement equipment and resources.
Thank you, 1 million times thank you. 4 December 2021
Hey team, we are overwhelmed with the support that has been shown to us through this page. It never crossed our minds that people would want to support us in this manner so the amount that has been given has humbled us.
At this stage we are still not sure if Epic Escape will be rebuilt, it is very early days and our hearts hurt. But after receiving floods of messages and support we have been able to move from: No, never. To: Maybe one day. And that is huge progress.
We will continue to update you here, and on Facebook and Instagram so make sure to check in with us regularly.
In the mean time take care of each other.
Anne and Matt