We bought the shop back in September 2006. It was turning over approximately $6k a week and was going ok. By September 2007 we were turning over an average of $25k a week, yay our hard work had paid off.
I was working for Coca Cola at the time and was bringing home a VERY good wage but with the way the business was going we decided i would resign after having Regan and be a SAHM.
The next 12 months slowed down a bit but was still holding good at around $28k a week then disaster. In November 2008 Wooworths and Aldi opened up about 7ks down the road. Previous to that we only had 2 Coles near by, one about 200 meters up the road and the other about 7ks away. We remained positive that it wouldn't affect us too much and that we would be ok. Then the Global Financial Crisis!!! People were scared and stopped spending their money and became very money concious.
Over the coming months business started to decline, slowly but surely the customers didn't want to drive to do a seperate fruit and vege shop, instead preferred to get it all at the one place.
The we got hit again, Woolworths decided to open up about 200 meters up the road. In October 2009 they opened their doors and it was on!!! Coles had been the only supermarket in our area for a long time and all of a sudden they had competition. They were price competing against each other big time and continuosly priced us out of the market. We couldn't even buy the stock for what they were selling it for, we remained positive even though sales had dropped down to about $9k a week. We cut back every way we could, we cut wages, we cut advertising, we offered a customer loyalty program, we offered free home delivery to local customers, Aaron was working 90 hours a week and only brining home $800 a week, yep that was the bare minimum we needed to pay our home bills so that's what he was bringing home which in reality is like slave labour, he was earning only $8.88 an hour. I was doing the deliveries for the shop for free as well as covering some of the shorter shifts for nothing, but each week we fell further and further behind. Then Woolies did the unthinkable, they decided to offer free home delivery to local customers as well. Since when do they do anything for free???
This week we got a letter saying we were now 6 months behind in rent and that we were now in breach of our leasing agreement, we called them and explained the shop was on the market and that there was simply nothing we could do until we sold the business, but it wasn't enough.
This morning Aaron left for work at 3am only to find the locks had been changed, we lost it, it's gone. he called the bank who own the building, not the bank we bank with and can you belive it they answered the phone because they were worried about us and were waiting for our call, yep the bank manager answered her phone at 330am...
So Aaron jumped the fence and got some things out of the office and came home and woke me, it was about 5am and i got woken only to be told we no longer had the shop, i woke up, tood up and passed out. I then woke up and threw up before really understanding what was happening. My heart was pounding so hard i thought i might have been having a heart attack, i was in shock.
Both Regan and Boston woke up about an hour before they normally would have, kids have such an amazing sense to these things.
Aaron's parents came over, as they are part owners, and we drew up an action plan. We get access to the shop for 24 hours from 830am Monday in which time we have to gut the place. We own all the stock and equipment so need to remove it all. The plan now is to dismantle one of the smaller cool rooms and set it up in our garage and convert the remainder of the garage into a prep area, it's a largish garage. There are a few things we need to do to make it meet health regulations but it isn't much. We will continue to serve our wholesale customers and our home delivery box customers and hope to god we can survive. I am looking at going back to work full time to pay the bills but am not sure how i am going to go about doing this yet.
I have been swaing between laughing and crying today and i dont think it has really sunk in yet. I think it will hit me on monday when we have to go and clear it all out and when Aaron isn't working like normal.
Anyway i am going to leave it at that, my spelling is probably way out but i am just too emotionally drained to write any more right now.
I am remaining positive though, i know it will be extrememly tough but we will get there, eventually.