New South Wales Price Attack franchisee Jodie Hackett has moved her business out of flood-affected Lismore and up to higher ground at Ballina, after watching her business go underwater in the floods.
“It was quite surreal at first,” she said. “When we got messages from Lismore Square management to say we were going to go under, we were hopeful it would only be 1.5 metres. When it went up to 1.8, that was to the top of my retail shelves which meant everything was gone – the whole lot.
“We couldn’t rescue a thing. Once the water dropped, we couldn’t actually go into the store until the centre management made it safe for everybody to enter. We had to book in times to go in and were only allowed to get cash out of the till and anything out of the safe. Other than that, we weren’t allowed to touch anything.
“I remember walking in and just having no words at all thinking that we had sold our family home to buy the business. I was gutted because I knew we didn’t have insurance and I knew there was nothing else there to cover it. It was like being punched in the stomach.”
Lismore Price Attack franchisee relocates to Ballina
“What we went through, well once was enough for me,” she said. “I don’t ever want to experience that again. When it looked like Lismore would go under again this month, and I heard people were starting to pack up again, I thought ‘you can’t live like that worrying, every time it rains, should we pack up or not?’ I didn’t want to do that again. I felt mortified across every part of my body for everybody else who was still in Lismore.”
Hackett opened the doors to her brand-new store in the Ballina Fair Shopping Centre in early November.
“I guess my silver lining was that I loved my Price Attack so much, that I had also bought Price Attack Tweed Heads when it came up for sale,” she said. “So, I was able to offer all of my staff various shifts to keep them employed until I worked out my next steps.
“I am a positive person so I always knew I would reopen; it was just a matter of where and when. My clients have been waiting a long, long time.
“All of my Lismore staff have stood by me and will be working in Ballina: except for one who is staying in Tweed Heads after finding love. It’s nice something good came out of all of that.”