Farmer Charlies' staff job shock

WORKERS at iconic Northern Rivers grocery chain, Farmer Charlies, have been told they will lose their jobs tomorrow unless someone steps in and buys the company today.

Farmer Charlies, which was saved from liquidation little more than a year ago when Sydney company Barrobay Investments bought it, was put into administration in a shock move on Wednesday night.

The Northern Star understands staff at Farmer Charlies' Lismore, Ballina and Evans Head stores had gone more than a week with no contact from their parent company and knew something was wrong only because deliveries of stock had stopped.

Administrators from PPB Advisory took over the company on Wednesday evening, according to documents lodged with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, and yesterday afternoon arrived at the stores to change the locks and tell staff in the three stores only a miracle could save their jobs.

PPB did not return calls yesterday, but the ASIC documents list Mark Roufeil and Scott Pascoe as administrators.

Staff yesterday were not talking publicly about the closure after being gagged by administrators. However, it is understood many had already been through a similar trauma when liquidators Deloitte took over the company in 2009.

“I'm still in shock,” one staff member said when contacted by The Northern Star.

One regular customer at the Lismore store yesterday morning – before the arrival of administrators – said she was stocking up on fruit and vegetables because she did not know when or if they would come in again.

Now she has her answer. Supplies won't be coming in again.

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