Thursday, 26 November 2015
We were absolutely shocked to learn that local art print publisher Image Vault was the victim of an arson attack in the early hours of this morning. The current owners had only purchased the business back in July of this year. Christchurch businesses have been through a lot over the past five years, and this event is yet another of those unpredictable "black swans", but also one that couldn't come at a worse time of year for a business that supplies the Xmas gift market and are at the height of their print production schedule. We are heartened by the fact Carl and Nicola are reported as saying they were fully insured and able to start printing again at temporary premises and our staff will be offering every assistance to them in the coming days.
The first thing my mother said when she heard of this was to text me that this was the same time of year as our "factory fire". This reminded me of one of my earliest memories - which is of the fire that gutted our family's picture moulding factory back in the late 1970s. Not arson, this was caused by thinners spontaneously igniting in the dangerous goods store and the intense heat was such that it melted the steel girders of our building in Carlisle St. I remember being lifted up to look into the cab of the fire engine and the smell of the fire. This was the second time Avon Fine Prints (as New Zealand Fine Prints was known as back then) had been hit by fire, their office above the National Party headquarters in Christchurch had also caught fire when my parents were on an overseas trip in the late 1960s, they returned home to find that their staff had relocated back to the sitting room of their house!
I hope that our business's experience of recovering from similarly devastating fires a long time ago means that the path back to normality for Image Vault will not as long or as hard as it must seem from the vantage point of today for Carl, Nicola, Jen, Amanda and Tony at Image Vault today.
Print on demand and hopefully cloud storage of their catalogue of files that they need to print canvas art prints will mean technically they can be back in business quite quickly, but the framing side of Image Vault's business may take longer to recover due to the loss of equipment and supplies - we may not be able to offer the standard box framing on their titles for at least a few weeks. We are also concerned that because their back stock of off-set prints will have been lost many of their older titles from artists like Grahame Sydney, Diana Adams, Barry Ross Smith, Jason Kelly etc may not be able to be re-printed on demand as the contracts with the artists last only as long as physical stock was on hand. NZ Fine Prints hold a few months worth of stock of most of these titles but this may mean some popular prints may be deleted well before the editions would have sold out naturally.
The earthquakes were incredibly disruptive but print buyers were overwhelmingly supportive and understanding of delays as we all juggled frantically behind the scenes to get their orders shipped. In the weeks following the Feb 22nd quake we had just one customer cancel their print order. This is another of those times that we will do our very best to let you know immediately if there will be a delay in shipping your order and in return ask for a bit of leeway if your print is delivered outside our normal delivery guidelines due to this devastating fire at one of our favourite suppliers.