Shop could be forced to close
‘Lease issue’ threatens to force store into closure
LOCALS are rallying behind a Childers takeaway restaurant that has apparently been banned from selling tea or coffee.
More than 200 people have signed a petition calling for Hunger Busters’ operating conditions to be reversed.
Its owners, Sharon and John Fisher, say the business is in danger of closing, the latest saga adding to long hours and a struggle to get enough family time.
The owners refused to comment on the background to the dispute, but Town & Country understands they have been prevented from selling “coffee, cakes, desserts and confectionary”, and have lost hundreds of customers because of it.
A sign explaining Hunger Busters’ inability to sell the goods indicates the issue is a competitive one involving centre coffee shop Drunk Bean. But owner Jill Taylor said it was not her doing and she just wanted to get on with everyone in the centre.
Centre manager Mark Banks said the coffee spat had “absolutely nothing to do with the landlord” – leaving it unclear who is responsible for the harsh conditions on Hunger Busters.
Meanwhile, the Fishers are shopping Hunger Busters around on the market, though they said it was not directly due to the leasing issue.
They were juggling both business and personal lives, with the couple experiencing very little time together away from the shop.
The couple were buoyed by support from the community, however, with the shop’s popularity at an all-time high among locals.
Both locals and travellers have led a groundswell of support for the Churchill St business, with many making comments after a sign explaining what the store could not sell was erected.
One customer, who identified herself only as Maria, approached the Town & Country and begged for the community to support the business.
“Childers has long been without a decent hamburger/fish and chip shop and we need one badly,” she wrote.
“But because of the rules and regulations ... they are going out of business.
“In one week they had over 100 people come in to eat but when they were told they can’t have tea or coffee with their meal they walked out, but signed a petition before they left.”
The petition was started on January 7.
When asked about customers deserting them, the Fishers confirmed it happened, and cited a group of 12 who went to Hunger Busters for a meal only to leave when they learned they could not be sold coffee.
Mr Banks said publicity was not helpful to the centre and a solution could still be found. He said the stories were “detrimental to the centre”.
“It is a confidential leasing issue so the public didn’t need to know, and the public will not know.”
Mrs Taylor “didn’t appreciate the sign” at Hunger Busters. “I don’t want to get involved in any legal issue but it’s not from me,” she said.
You can sign the petition at the store.
NO COFFEE: Hunger Busters is in danger of closing due to claims of restrictive operating arrangements.