Bundaberg hardware store now open
AS customers walk through the doors of the freshly painted Home Hardware, it is hard for owner Steve Cooper to believe that just six weeks ago muddy floodwaters filled the shop.
“If you didn't know about the flood ... it is just better than it ever looked,” Mr Cooper said.
“(Our recovery) has happened a lot quicker than I would have thought.
“It is nice to have virtually everything new.”
More stock needs to come in, ticket prices need to be added and shelving needs to be replaced during the next 12 months, but customers are already making a steady stream into the shop.
“We have a lot of loyal customers who have been waiting for us to open,” Mr Cooper said.
“We have had people knocking on the door, so if we have been able to find it we have been selling it – we weren't going to turn people away.”
It may seem like a quick turnaround from being almost completely destroyed by floods to back trading in less than two months, but Mr Cooper said it took a lot of hard work.
“It is simply because of the massive amount of help that we have had,” he said.
It was not just Bundaberg residents who pitched in and helped, with crews being sent from across the country.
“They sent people from the (Home Hardware) group up from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne,” Mr Cooper said.
“Reps have been sent in from all over the country, not just Queenslanders.
“We have had 30 people here at one stage.
“You can't thank just one person; there are too many people that helped. There were people I didn't know or had ever seen before.”
Mr Cooper reserved the highest praise for his staff, whom he said were simply “outstanding”.
But the hardest part had been the long hours put into getting the shop back operating again.
“We have been working 14 hours a day, so it is constant tiredness,” Mr Cooper said.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel with regular trading hours having resumed of 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 3pm Saturday and 8am to 2pm on Sunday.
A big celebration is also planned next Saturday, February 19, in the form of a grand reopening with “a few surprises”.