HARD TIMES: Having to do bookwork on the floor because there is nowhere else is the least of Ruth Modin's woes as she fights to stay in business after   fire   destroyed her shop and the cafe next door last October, costing her the most important season of the retailing year.
HARD TIMES: Having to do bookwork on the floor because there is nowhere else is the least of Ruth Modin's woes as she fights to stay in business after fire destroyed her shop and the cafe next door last October, costing her the most important season of the retailing year. Rowan Schindler

Rainbow's 'warrior' in her fight with disaster

RUTH Modin is struggling.

The relentless Rainbow Beach advocate, community activist and business pioneer is battling the after-effects of disaster.

Even more than four months since fire nearly put her out of business, the woman sometimes known as the town's "unofficial mayor" says she is still fighting for survival.

That blaze destroyed her Foodworks general store in Rainbow Beach Rd, along with the Coloured Sands cafe next door.

And it is still dominating her life as she works every day to put the pieces of her business back together.

Giving up is apparently not in the DNA of the self-made community activist whose fearless championing of all things Rainbow has helped make the town what it is today.

Other businesses, untouched by the fire, have just enjoyed the busiest Christmas anyone can remember.

"That fire destroyed the building, but it also cost me my Christmas," she said.

Although she declared her business as good as "ruined" after the fire, which broke out overnight on October 18-19, she has since kept trading, out of a one room temporary store, hoping for good news from the insurance company and understanding from her customers.

 

DEVASTATION: The sad sight that greeted Ruth Modin on October 19 last year.
DEVASTATION: The sad sight that greeted Ruth Modin on October 19 last year. Frances Klein

"It's 20 years up in flames," cafe owners Andy and Alison Stiefler said at the time.

But the fire consumed many years more than that for Mrs Modin, who helped transform the town in the 1980s, when she came up with the idea for the Rainbow Beach Fishing Classic.

Tired of seeing fishermen calling through on their way to the then big Fraser Island fishing competition, she thought Rainbow Beach should have its own.

Interviewed during last year's Classic, she recalled the inspiration.

"I thought, why can't we do one of these? Only I'm going to include women and children and make it a family thing,"

A lot of people met Rainbow Beach thanks to that one idea, in the 1980s.

Full recovery is still months away, she says.

Gympie Times


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