The Arorangi-based store is one of three businesses that were gutted by fire in separate incidents which occurred within a one-month period.
BTIB business development officer TuBale Vakalalabure said that on July 26 the board approved a soft loan assistance package to Friendly Mart to ensure it returns to normal business operations as soon as possible.
He said this assistance was part of the board’s ongoing commitment to assisting small to medium businesses with advice, mentoring and even small funding, whether it be for new or expanding businesses.
“The fire was a disaster and it can be agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to have the Friendly Mart back on its feet and operational,” Vakalalabure said.
In thanking BTIB, Doreen Boggs, the director of Friendly Mart Limited, said they greatly appreciate the assistance with funding provided to their business by the board.
“Those who have gone through the devastating situation we have experienced, on the night of the incident, watching years of hard work go up into flames, it was really heart-warming to know that we have the support of our government through the BTIB to help our local business people in their real time of need,” Boggs said.
“I want to praise the BTIB board of directors, CEO Teariki Vakalalabure, business development officer TuBale Vakalalabure, and all their staff members for their professionalism.”
Boggs said BTIB recognised that the fire not only hurt Friendly Mart but also the village, which struggled without the convenience store that they had relied upon for many years.
“BTIB has certainly continued to strengthen and demonstrate their support to our local business sectors both in the past and in the present,” said Boggs.
“I encourage our local businesses to seek out professional help and assistance to grow your business from our very own Cook Islands’ Business Trading and Investment Board. Thank you BITB.”
Meanwhile, Boggs also expressed her heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the people of Vaka Puaikura and everyone who comforted them during this ordeal.
“Your prayers, kind words, helping hands and gifts, certainly touched our heart and gave us the strength to stay strong and move on with rebuilding Friendly Mart again,” she said. “Te Atua Te Aroa.”