WHEN Donna Shannon realised a man had jumped on the counter of The Shop, she thought it was a practical joke by a local -until she saw the machete.
It just before 7.30pm, on a quiet night, and Ms Shannon said pizza chef Olivier Laraive was packing up, when they noticed a balaclava-clad, machete-wielding bandit demanding cash.
"All of a sudden this guy has come in, we didn't even see him, then we saw he was on our counter wielding a machete saying 'give us the f***ing money'," she said.
"At first we thought it was a joke, until he started swinging the machete at us and I screamed 'Dennis' and ran out of the shop."
Unaware of the incident , Ms Shannon's partner Dennis Lees was refilling the drink fridge when he heard the scream.
"It was just an instant reaction when I knew someone was there and I purely went into defence mode," Mr Lees said.
"You don't have time to think when someone is wielding a machete around. I didn't have time to be scared."
Mr Lees, 67, grabbed a table and fought off the man, sustaining a cut to his arm.
The man, who was wearing a blue hooded spray jacket, black balaclava and jeans fled the store empty handed, and was spotted by a customer getting into a small, older-model white station wagon driven by another person.
The car was last seen heading south toward New Brighton.
Taking over The Shop and adjoining residence on December 13 last year, Ms Shannon said this was the first robbery there in 10 years.
Tweed Byron police Crime Manager Brendan Cullen said detectives and crime scene officers scoured the scene for evidence last night.
"The offender is described as being in his mid 30s, of skinny build, and was last seen wearing a blue hooded spray jacket," he said.
Insp Cullen said police did not believe the robbery was linked to other crimes in the area.
Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.