Laun­dry rises from the ashes

Whitsunday Times - - WHITSUNDAY BUSINESS -

SIX months on from a fire that to­tally de­stroyed the business, Can­non­vale’s Bar­rier Reef Li­nen has risen phoenix­like from the ashes and is up and run­ning again.

The fire, which broke out in the early hours of Thurs­day, April 10, gut­ted the multi-mil­lion dol­lar in­dus­trial laun­dry on Carlo Drive, dec­i­mat­ing ev­ery­thing in its path, in­clud­ing the con­crete slab.

For business owner Rod Flynn, the af­ter­math was any­thing but pretty, and the past few months have been “one hell of a ride”.

“But I just wanted peo­ple to know that you can come back from th­ese things,” Mr Flynn said this week, from the newly re-built laun­dry, now known in the in­dus­try as the best Aus­tralia-wide.

After the fire, one of the first chal­lenges Mr Flynn and his team faced was con­tin­u­ing to ser­vice Hamil­ton Is­land’s mas­sive laun­dry and li­nen man­age­ment needs.

Thanks to an ar­range­ment with the Nu­ci­fo­ria fam­i­ly­owned Delta Laun­dry and Dry Clean­ers in Ayr, the Bar­rier Reef Li­nen team was back in ac­tion within 48 hours, just a cou­ple of hun­dred kilo­me­tres to the north.

Mean­while, in­surance claims were lodged and new state-of-the-art equip­ment was sourced, ar­riv­ing from Ger­many after 23 weeks.

Mr Flynn said the machin- ery took 10 days to in­stall and although he and his team had al­lowed for teething trou­bles, there were none.

Look­ing back on the whole ex­pe­ri­ence, Mr Flynn said there were a few lessons learned.

“To­tal de­struc­tion is to­tal de­struc­tion – you have noth­ing left – from business cards to com­put­ers – ev­ery­thing had to be re­placed,” he said.

“You also spend a long time in limbo wait­ing for your in­surance company to do the num­bers and that’s very wor­ry­ing – there’s a pe­riod of about four weeks of un­known and sleep­less nights.

“Our in­surance was good but I can only imag­ine how dan­ger­ous and scary it would be if you skimped on your in­surance,” he warned.

Mr Flynn, who man­aged to re­tain about half of his staff-base of about 20, and is now re-em­ploy­ing many of those who could not travel to Ayr, thanked ev­ery­one in­volved in the re­cov­ery process, par­tic­u­larly op­er­a­tions man­ager Cathy Lowe and as­sis­tant man­ager An­thony Jenk­ins, for all of their hard work.

He also thanked Hamil­ton Is­land and the many other lo­cals who gave their support dur­ing what were ex­tremely tough times.

ALL IN THE WASH: Bar­rier Reef Li­nen Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor Rod Flynn points proudly to his newly re-built laun­dry, which was pre­vi­ously gut­ted by fire ear­lier this year.

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