Surrounded on three sides by condemned buildings, Martin Aspinwall fears his small cheesemonger's shop is destined to be wrecked.
The commercial block wedged on the corner of Victoria and Salisbury streets has been hit hard, with a hairdresser, furniture shop, and Chinese massage parlour all likely to be bulldozed. The Canterbury Cheesemongers is the only shop seemingly unscathed, but if engineers choose to level the block it will mean the end of the business.
"We will not survive. If this business has to be relocated there will be no business," he said.
Aspinwall has lost three days of trading, which, without trading loss insurance, he will not recoup.
"We will be all right for a few days, but if we are closed for a week, we are scuppered."
Aspinwall's story is one among hundreds, as businesses assess the damage to buildings and stock and come to terms with trading losses that could stretch for weeks. Retailers within the central city cordon will be not be able to open until at least tomorrow.
Central city retailers who spoke to BusinessDay yesterday said they were continuing to pay staff, although in most cases this is not a legal obligation.
Many said the impact of lost trading and lost stock would be covered by insurance but they were uncertain when they could re-open.
Roger Kelso's Westende Jewellers on the corner of Worcester and Manchester streets was half-buried in rubble, with the restaurant above his shop imploding during the first jolt.
Yesterday afternoon, Kelso managed to get through the cordon to visit his shop which, remarkably, is almost totally unscathed.
"But the building has been condemned and that means we will have to relocate," he said.
It would be hard to leave the site he had occupied for 30 years but Kelso said the important thing was that no one had been killed. The jeweller is covered by insurance for loss of trade and he hoped customers would remain loyal if he is forced to move out of the city centre.
Do you feel better off than at this time last year?