Anthony Campbell helped set up the Moorhouse Ave Harvey Norman Centre as a labourer 14 years ago, and now the owner of the chain's city electrical franchise can't wait to get back in and trading.
Campbell took a job with the department store chain when the Christchurch store opened and worked his way to owning a Dunedin franchise a decade ago. He returned to Christchurch to take the city's electrical franchise in 2007.
Now set up in a makeshift retail space at his Sydenham warehouse, Campbell has had to adapt since being knocked out of the landmark city department store complex.
While the September quake had not affected the Moorhouse centre, the February one had "emptied the racks" causing a lot of stock damage, he said.
About October last year head office told the four city franchisees who make up the Moorhouse centre that the building would not be able to reopen in the near future, he said.
"We had to start hustling."
The big store split into three locations. The furniture and bedding departments had set up out at Hornby, and the computers department moved into Montreal St.
Shop space was thin on the ground, so Campbell converted half his Carlyle St warehouse into makeshift retail space.
Campbell and several of his staff spent two weeks taking out racking and fitting out the new store, opening in November. "With all of us going to these different locations it's hard to get the message out," he said.
Campbell had expected to be back in the Moorhouse Ave Dalgety's Store building before winter, however the repair work has continued longer than expected.
Maroon puffer vests became part of the uniform for his staff to combat cold winter days in the makeshift shop.
The last he had heard the Moorhouse Ave building would be ready around October, however there had been plenty of delays already and he expected the date to be pushed back.
"Now, like with anything in this town, when they tell us to start moving the stock back in we'll know we're in the game."
It's been a longer wait than expected: on February 22 an engineer had told him he expected the building to be reopened within a month, Campbell said. However continual aftershocks and a heftier building code had ruined that, he said.
The building was being significantly strengthened with steel and he could make regular visits to check out its progress, he said.
"It's an absolute tank. We call it the bunker." He was excited to return to the centre and the blank canvas it gave him to fit out the store exactly how he wanted.