Decision not to reopen Sussan store after flood stuns staff
AFTER being repeatedly assured their jobs were safe, employees of Maryborough's Sussan store say they have been hung out to dry by the company's shock decision to not reopen the flood-damaged store.
Kathryn Riley, Nikki Bradshaw and a third staff member have been out of work since filthy floodwaters swamped the CBD in January.
They were told time and time again that the shop, which has operated in Maryborough for 35 years, would reopen - so they were understandably shocked when the area manager announced last week that it was no longer viable.
"It's a cop-out, really," Ms Riley said.
"Over the past four years I have been told consistently that we are profitable ... one of the most profitable in the company.
"And our shop wasn't even maintained like the others - it hasn't been touched in 15 years."
She said the three staff members, who had collectively dedicated more than 20 years to the company, were most disappointed by the fact that the head office did not attempt to find a new space to lease in Maryborough.
"There's plenty of vacant buildings we could have gone into.
"Instead they said we weren't profitable and they expect people to travel to Hervey Bay or shop online."
A Sussan spokeswoman yesterday confirmed the Maryborough store would not reopen - but the fact that it was no longer viable was only one of the contributing factors.
"Given our store comes to the end of its lease in June, we have reviewed its viability as we do with all store lease renewals," she said. "Due to the store's performance, the current economic climate and the capital investment required to refurbish the store in its current state, it is no longer a sustainable situation."
It's been a particularly harsh blow for Ms Riley, whose husband was also made redundant from his job earlier this week.
"We've gone from two incomes to none," she said.
But it's not only the staff feeling bitterly disappointed, Ms Bradshaw said
"Our customers are so disappointed," she said.
"We had a lot of loyal customers and formed close relationships with a lot of them.
"I've have had people coming up to me all the time asking if we're reopening, it was quite a popular store."
Both women agree that most of their customers would not be happy to drive to the Hervey Bay Sussan store or to shop online.
"People won't travel to Hervey Bay," Ms Riley said.
"Maryborough people are not big online shoppers."