Tayla Hanlon and Jen Mollison (left) clear out the old water damaged shelving to make way for a store revamp.
Tayla Hanlon and Jen Mollison (left) clear out the old water damaged shelving to make way for a store revamp. Lee Gailer

Clean-up continues for Gympie businesses

WHILE it was back to business for some, many flood-affected businesses in Gympie were functioning at a reduced capacity and some had suspended operations altogether.

Around 150 businesses in the Gympie region were affected by last week's flooding, caused by the deluge from ex-tropical cyclone Oswald when it crossed over on its way down the southeast coast of Australia.

The Royal Hotel, on the corner of Monkland and Mary Sts, was among the hardest hit, but despite severe flood damage to the sports bar and kitchen preventing full service, staff managed to partially re-open for patrons on Saturday evening.

Gemma Green from PC Place was all smiles as business started getting back to normal.

Floodwater had risen to the roof of the Green's River Rd business premises and a damaged ceiling was yet to be replaced, but the resourceful couple just moved the service counter to the front of the store to reach customers.

"It's been a hard slog, but it's worth it for the good location," she said.

Dick Smith employees, Tayla Hanlon and Jen Mollison, were busy clearing out the old to make way for the new yesterday, as the international retail chain began preparing for a major revamp at its Gympie store.

The flood presented an opportunity to refurbish the store with the latest branding concept and it was believed Dick Smiths would remain closed for the next three weeks during the fitout.

Wayne's World manager Di Fogarty hit back at reports that the national retail chain failed to remove stock from the floor. She said staff and volunteers moved stock to higher ground when the flood peak was originally predicted at around 18m.

"By the time we were advised that it was going to get higher, the roads were cut off and we couldn't get our trucks in," she said.

Crazy Clarks, the Endeavour Foundation op shop, Mama's and Papa's Pizzeria and a little art shop in Condies Arcade were in the same boat.

The Gympie Telstra Shop on the corner of River Rd was caught short as floodwaters rose quickly around the store. Fortunately the business was able to pool all its resources into the other shop at Centro while out of action until next week.

"We didn't get time to get everything out," store manager Lauren Blackburn said.

"The water rose too fast for us this time. We were still packing a metre deep in water.

"We operate on the fact that Gympie normally gets a flood every 10 years, not every year.

"At least for 51 weeks of the year the location is very good for us."

Electric wiring was being checked over and air conditioners re-gased at remaining flood-affected businesses across the region as they prepared to re-open within the week.

Billy's hotel expects to open "with a bang" on Thursday evening, Harcourts real estate agency plans to be open by the end of the week and Mama's & Papa's hopes to re-open by next week.

Toyworld opened in record time on Friday by following an impressive evacuation plan.

Bank of Queensland was open for customers on Thursday with two tellers and was fully operational on Friday.

Gympie Times


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