Rumours of CSG alliance affect Fruit Barn trade
THE OWNER of an iconic Lismore business says false accusations about her supporting coal seam gas have seen her turnover drop by 40% in 12 months.
After purchasing South Lismore's Pirlo's Fruit Barn 13 years ago, Susan Dhesi said regular customers no longer shopped there due to rumours spread in the community that the family had allowed Metgasco on their property.
Mrs Dhesi said the family owned 2ha at Tullera and had never allowed, or been contacted by Metgasco, in relation to CSG on their land.
Through feedback from customers, Mrs Dhesi said she learned leaflets had been circulated on the Northern Rivers linking her business with CSG mining.
"Twelve months ago a good customer of mine who is high up in the anti-CSG protesting in the region told me to change my name as people in the community believed we had links with coal seam gas mining," she said.
Mrs Dhesi said she had nothing against anti-CSG protesters.
The downturn has forced Mrs Dhesi and her husband Bobby to work from 6am till 8pm, six days a week and from 8am till 5pm on Sundays. She said as their staff are very loyal they try to give them as much work as possible.
"Twelve months ago we used to have four people working in retail," she said.
"Now we only have one person in a day for three hours if we need them."