10 jobs lost as market closes
BUNDABERG Marketplace Fruits has gone into liquidation, leaving 10 employees to join the dole queue.
The Maryborough Street company had been trading for 20 years, and specialised in local, organic fruit and vegetables.
“Turnover had dropped since 2005, and (the business) went into liquidation and stopped trading on Friday,” liquidator Nick Crouch said.
“They were the leading organic seller (in Bundaberg) but with Woolies and Coles across the road, it was hard to compete.”
Mr Crouch said about $300,000 was owed to 25 creditors.
After going into liquidation last week, Bundaberg Marketplace Fruits stock was sold or returned to local suppliers during the weekend, but some creditors were likely to be left out of pocket.
“Employees are owed about $60,000 in entitlements and the secured creditor, the Bank of Queensland is owed about $25,000,” he said.
“Proceeds will be paid to the secured creditor and employees but it's unlikely any trade creditor will get a dividend.”
The liquidator is calling for expressions of interest in the business, which incorporates Mid City Meats and a cafe.
“We are negotiating with a few local businessmen, who may purchase the fit-out and reopen the store as a combined butchery and fruit and veg store,” he said.
“If that is not possible the fit-out will be sold for about $30-40,000 at an onsite auction in about three weeks.”
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers chairman David De Paoli said it was sad to see an innovative local company fail.
“They were really out there and trying to promote the industry,” he said.
“It's just a sign of the times, that it is very difficult to do business in a competitive industry.”
Mr De Paoli said a number of Bundaberg region growers would feel the knock-on effects of the closure, particularly those with specialist products.
Bundaberg Chamber of Commerce president Ron Bishop was also saddened by the closure.
“It's unfortunate to see this happen,” Mr Bishop said.
“It shows that we need to concentrate on buying local produce and supporting local companies to keep businesses and jobs in the region.”