Great customers a key to flood recovery
AS THEY waded through filthy floodwater into their shop after the March floods and saw the business in ruins, Niall MacLeod and Liz Huang thought their hearts would break.
Although the pair who have managed the SG Asian Supermarket for 18 months, had lifted their stock as high as they could, the force of the water when it surged through the shop in Magellan St overturned shop fittings and destroyed the majority of their goods.
But now when you walk into the fresh, clean and bright store which stocks a huge range of speciality Asian groceries - from fermented foods to tofu, meats, vegetables, spices and condiments - you would never think over two metres of floodwater surged through the store.
Like much of Lismore, they have shown enormous resilience, courage, delighted to still be trading and loving being part of the CBDs retail scene.
"We stock Chinese, Korean, Viet, Thai, Filipino and Indian foods,” Mr MacLeod said.
"About 50% of our customers are Australians”.
After an immense cleaning and refurbishing effort, they have been heartened to receive positive feedback from new and loyal customers.
The pair who met four years ago while picking nectarines when Ms Huang was on holiday from Taiwan, said they knew they simply had to get on with life and quickly set to work to restore the business.
"All our refrigerators and freezers were upside down,” Ms Huang said.
"When we opened the door on the first day we just wanted to work away, but we just got on with it.”
Not only did the couple have to deal with the debris in their workplace, their home and car in South Lismore were also water-logged.
"Our two-storey house in South Lismore was flooded downstairs too,” Mr MacLeod said.
"So we waded out to get the car and for a while it was just a life of come here, clean, go home, eat, sleep and come here and clean”.
Ms Huang said it all about just getting through each day as it came.
"From the start you don't need to think, you just have to do,” Ms Huang said.
And they could not have continued without their wonderful customers who provided them not just with willing hands to help clean up and clear rubbish, but also with kind words and encouragement.
"We had good support form the owners of the business and they have become friends,” Mr MacLeod said.
"We have had great loyalty from customers and of course the community came together and we really appreciated the bottled water and free food while we worked to get the shop organised.”
Ms Huang said they also took great strength from the fact so many people came in and told them they were looking forward to the supermarket reopening.
"One of the reasoned we had to keep going was our customers would say oh, you one of my favourite shops,” Ms Huang said.
"I had no idea what we were doing is so important to them.”