More and more businesses reopen after flood
MORE than a month after the flood that inundated Lismore, many large CBD businesses are still vacant with scores of local jobs hanging in the balance.
While the McDonald's outlet near Lismore Shopping Square reopened on Tuesday, and Dan Murphy's is planning to reopen its Ballina Rd store on Friday, clothing retailers Rivers and Best and Less in the CBD remain closed and have no confirmed reopening time.
Alongside those stores, there are still several local small businesses yet to reopen their doors.
In a bid to understand the flood's ongoing impact on the local economy and local jobs, The Northern Star contacted business owners and chain stores to ask when - and if - they were planning to reopen.
Chandlers Betta Home Living, Woodlark Street
Chandlers Betta Home Living are open and trading and can order in anything a customer requires.
The Chandlers Betta team would like to thank everybody that has supported us as they rebuild.
Red Dove Cafe, Keen Street
Walter R von Sturler said on Facebook that the Red Dove Cafe will reopen on Monday May 8.
Supre, Molesworth Street
Fashion retailer Supre's Lismore store will not reopen following the floods.
However, the company's global retail manager Kath Podnar said the brand "plans to stay in the region and we are working on finding the perfect new location to reopen doors".
"The store team has been supported and paid during this downtime and we are working with each team member to find new jobs within the business," Ms Podnar said.
Nostalgic Barbershop, 155 Keen Street
Averil Waite posted on Facebook this old-school milk bar and barber will reopen Monday.
Commonwealth Bank, 86 Woodlark St
There is still no opening date on the CBA branch as the works will take several weeks, according to a Commonwealth Bank spokesman.
"We've made our temporary branch available to Lismore," the spokesman said. "This is located in the (Browns Creek) car park in Keen Street and we have our branch employees available in the temporary branch which has as many of the same features of a regular Commonwealth Bank branch including tellers and ATMs."
The Co-op Bookshop, 17 Woodlark St
The co-op bookshop has vacated the site and will not return. The future of two staff members is up in the air. The bookshop also has a shop at the Southern Cross University campus, so they may be redeployed there.
Affordable Wholefoods, Magellan St
The store was gutted in the flood but it has been a hive of activity since the disaster and work is on track for a reopening on May 15.
Inspirations of the Heart and Home
Another small business lost to the floods, this shop will not reopen again. A touching note left on its window by owner Karen Henry reads: "I just want to thank you all for the beautiful gestures and comments on Humans of Lismore. Thankyou to the community at large for supporting me through this last challenge. The heartspace we have shared with each other over the years I will take with me into my new adventures ever broadening cucles of life and the living."
Caltex, Woodlark St
The flood caused underground damage to the service station's water supply, requiring significant remediation work. This requires the company to lodge a development application with Lismore City Council, which could take months.
In the meantime, it is looking to reacquire its old Dawson St site, opposite, to provide a service for local customers.
Bodypeace Bamboo Clothing
Bodypeace has moved its shop permanently to Lismore Shopping Square following the floods, and has reopened for business there. It will not return to the CBD.
Katies, 59 Woodlark St
The chain's owner Speciality Fashion Group is unable to confirm when the shop will open its doors again, but it will "definitely" reopen. An additional inquiry has been lodged about the status of staff.
Millers Fashion Group, 86 Molesworth St
Same as above (Speciality Fashion Group also owns Millers).
ts14+ & virtu, Woodlark St:
The plus-size women's clothing store is set to reopen on Thursday next week (May 11), a spokeswoman has confirmed.
Sadly this business will not reopen. The shop sustained an estimated $100,000 in damage and it was not insured. Three people have lost their jobs as a result.
Megachoice, Molesworth St
The discount store is expected to open within two weeks. Staff are doing shifts at Ballina and in between cleaning up and restocking the Lismore store.
Sportsgirl, 66 Molesworth St
Sportsgirl is not planning to reopen again in until August, "assuming everything goes to plan", a spokeswoman said. It was insured for flooding, but the shop requires a complete refit.
Radio Rentals, 1/100 Molesworth St
Is currently trading from its warehouse in the Goonellabah Industrial Estate at 1/3 Pignat Place. The store is still waiting on its insurance claim, with no reopening date set for its Lismore shop. "At least two months," a spokeswoman said.
Lismore Skating & Putt Putt, 21 Bridge St, North Lismore
There is no reopening date for the skating rink and nine staff are currently out of work. The business lost all its skates, and its internal walls and cabinetry in the disaster, according to Belinda Newby. The building's owners still need to fix the roof and electrical wiring before the business can look to set a reopening date.
Dulux, 123 Woodlark St
Aiming to reopen of May 22nd. The business was covered for flooding and the tradesmen have been working at the site since "day one", a manager Jamie Everingham. The shop's three staff members have been continuingly employed.
Godfreys, cnr of Conway and Keen
Will definitely reopen, but closed for refurbishment until mid-May at least.
Telstra, Woodlark St
Trading from a pop-up shop at Lismore Square. Woodlark St shop will not reopen for "at least two months" a spokeswoman said, following extensive damage to the building and interior.
Zen Sushi may never reopen its Keen St store because of huge uninsured damage in the floods.
The store's losses included two sushi robot machines, which cost $36,000 each.
"The future of the store is 50/50," said owner Mayumi Okamura. "If we were covered… no problem. But the losses are $250,000. We need some government help."
In the meantime the store is focusing on its Lismore Square shop.
Palate at the Gallery
The fate of this well-positioned cafe which opens on to Spinks Park and the transit centre plaza is in doubt. The business was not insured for flooding and lost its entire fit out in the disaster. Owner Ypres Al-Ghazi was unavailable for comment this week but has previously told The Northern Star the restaurant-cafe's future was uncertain.
Flock Espresso and Eats
The popular back alley café off Woodlark St was gutted in the flood but will reopen "soon" at a new home at 49 Woodlark St, according to its Facebook page.
Best and Less, 137 Keen St
Best and Less CEO Rodney Orrock said the store was completely gutted by the flood and it was another eight to 12 weeks from reopening.
Mr Orrock said the chain remained committed to Lismore as a great location to do business, although it wasn't anticipating the amount of damage done to the building.
BP Service Station, 131 Dawson St
Expected to open in about two weeks, but no definite opening date set.
Dan Murphy's, 68 Ballina Rd
The store is set to reopen this Friday, May 5.
A Dan Murphy's spokeswoman added that "the opportunity was taken to further upgrade the store to improve our customer's shopping experience".
The Dawson Motor Inn, 25 Dawson St
Closed for at least six months. The building and its contents were severely damaged in the floods, with all the contents a write-off, according to business co-owner Dianne Nisner.
Both the property owner and Ms Nisner are still awaiting a response from their insurance companies to their claim.
In the meantime, seven staff are looking for jobs elsewhere until the business reopens.
Golden Crust Hot Bread, 157 Keen St
Owners Jody and Brett Rook said they were planning to reopen, but no date had been set at this stage.
The shop needs to replace every piece of equipment, including a $51,000 oven. It was insured but not for flood, and their insurer knocked them back on storm damage.
"Financially we are starting from scratch. It's a bit scary at our age," the couple said.
"We'll still bake but we'll do pies and pastries, and some speciality handmade breads. We've lost all our wholesale (customers) through this, so we can't service them any more."
The Gollan Hotel, cnr of Woodlark and Keen streets
The pub is closed indefinitely, until the freehold owners make a decision on its future. It may be refurbished.
Lifeline op-shop, Magellan St
Aiming to reopen next Monday. Staff are working off-site to get clothing stocks arranged while the floors are drying.
"We'll be back, bigger and better than before," said retail services manager Sharon Sawyer.
Definitely reopening but no official reopening date yet.
From a Facebook post by Bri Taylor: "Just to let all the lovely customers of Lincraft Lismore know we are most definitely reopening ... no official open date just yet but when we know, you will know.
"And for anyone who is wanting to know, all the Lismore staff are currently working in the Ballina store and would love to see your gorgeous faces as it makes it feel a little bit more like home."
Midtown Hobbies, 123/125 Woodlark St
Has relocated to new premises inside Autobarn, on Brewster St near Lismore Shopping Square.
From the business owners: "Our building in Woodlark St was damaged quite severely. Luckily we got all of our stock out before it could be damaged and we have reopened inside Autobarn. We have been trading here since April 5. Very sad to hear that others haven't been as fortunate as us."
McDonalds, cnr of Laurel Ave and Brewster St
Reopened on Tuesday this week.
Rivers, 36-42 Carrington St, Lismore Central Shopping Centre
No date set but will "definitely be reopening" and is in 'active negotiations" to renew its lease, according to a spokeswoman.
ShopBaby, 126 Woodlark St
The shop is currently operating from a pop-up shop in Lismore Shopping Square, and will briefly open this Friday and Saturday for a flood clearance sale before a planned reopening on May 15 at the latest, according to owner Josh Bates.
Mr Bates said despite the hardship following the flood he was optimistic about the future.
"It's just one of those things. You've got to move on from it," he said.
"We're pretty optimistic about the future. We always envisioned we'd be able to open again - it's just a matter of when."
He said many small businesses had an urgency about them to reopen, not only because for their own livelihood, but also to hasten the renewal of Lismore CBD.
"I think the town will come out of it stronger," he said.
United Service Station, 16 Ballina Rd
Closed for the foreseeable future. Business and site is for sale.