New hopes after rising from ashes
HOW do you go about picking up the pieces of your life’s work when it’s left in tatters?
It’s a question Mick Dan and Kelly Burton have asked almost daily since that fateful incident 12 months ago.
A 1am phone call awoke them like a bolt from the blue. They walked across the road to see their beloved fruit and vegetable store engulfed in flames. Their Good Harvest Organic store in Marcoola on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast was gutted by suspected arson.
“It was everything we had, we lived for that shop. It wasn’t just about four walls and a coldroom, it was our life,” Mr Dan said of the day that felt like yesterday.
“I try not to think about what it cost us... hundreds of thousands.
“We had nothing left and had to restart.
“It has been a long battle to survive, and a very tough 12 months.” Yet survive they did – as stubborn as a mule – and defied the odds.
The pair and their team of six plant their organic goods at Woombye, and supply the Sunshine Coast with fruit and vegetable boxes.
They supply wholesalers, Noosa’s Wasabi Restaurant and Buderim’s Hungry Feel Eating House.
They’re aiming to feed up to 200 families a week from their farm.
“I can’t believe a year has passed. It’s been a blur,” he said.
“But we’ve bounced back, we had to.
“We started this box system, customers can select them online and subscribe.
“We pick and pack the boxes and deliver them the same day. Usually within five to six hours, so they’re as fresh as possible.”
The suspected arson rocked them to the core, but the community support rekindled their faith.
“Straight after it so much love was poured in from the wider community. Even now people ask us if we will open the shop up again,” the third-generation farmer said.
“We had about a month off over December and straight back into it in January. We didn’t really lose any customers, and really, if anything, we gained many more.
“The community stuck by us and believed in us and we are so grateful. Our main goal is to just continue to feed the families.”
Check out their online store: www.goodharvest. com.au.
It wasn’t just about four walls and a coldroom, it was our life.”
— Mick Dan
RECOVERY: Former shop owner Mick Dan (above) and Kelly Burton lost their shop front to suspected arson 12 months ago. They now supply families with boxes of vegies to about 70 homes.