A new survey has revealed one in 10 Wellington businesses remain closed after the earthquake.
Picture framer John Swan had just 20 minutes to salvage items from his Courtenay Pl store before it was off-limits for up to three months.
About 30 people were let through a cordon around Reading Carpark before the area was sealed off for demolition of the quake-damaged building.
Mr Swan has had to stop working as his framing machinery is too large to move out of the store.
"I'm thinking about retiring and selling off the business as is, or sell off the stock and machinery and close up," says Mr Swan.
"It depends on the timing but I'm beginning to get too old for this sort of thing."
He's one of many businesses hit by the quake.
A survey of more than 700 companies across the region by Wellington Chamber of Commerce found 62 percent were impacted in some way, with almost a quarter shut at some stage for building inspections. Ten percent, or 70 businesses, are still closed.
"Some were impacted with no financial impact; they were more inconvenience impacted, [while]we have businesses who have indicated $25,000 plus," says Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford.
Brendan Motors is nearby to the Reading building and also has been hit hard.
"We're doing maybe a third of what we were doing this time last year," says workshop manager Lizette Standish.
Thousands of staff across Wellington have been relocated to other premises while their buildings remain shut.
The Statistics New Zealand office was badly damaged and its staff are now at offices around the city.
One in five of the businesses surveyed admitted they were unprepared for the quake.
The Chamber of Commerce says events of the past five weeks should be more than enough motivation for every business to be ready.