The Green Frog Caf and Rosebank General Store closed its doors today (Thursday), ending over a century of service to the Rosebank community.
Ive gone broke, is owner Lois Vickery-Halls blunt reason for the closure, and I should have closed shop six months ago. But Ive lived in this community for 15 years and it was a really tough decision.
Lois estimates her sales are down 40 per cent, and with virtually no weekend tourist trade for months, the business just cannot survive. She said she will now have to sell her house, pay back the banks, lick her wounds and move on.
The government is bullsh*#ting us that the Australian economy is fine, said Lois. I have noticed huge changes in spending habits in the past six to eight months since petrol prices have risen. The locals cant afford to buy any extras and the tourists cant afford to come here.
Like most village general stores, Rosebank sells much more than just groceries. It is the petrol station, post office, coffee shop and meeting place for villagers. Lois said in times of emergency the store has been the glue thats kept the community together.
Im like a personal assistant to five hundred people, said Lois. Ive baby-sat children waiting for their parents caught in floods and advised people on all sorts of things. Sure, the local community is devastated that Im closing, but its a bit like the saying You dont know what youve got till its gone.
Above the counter of Loiss shop hangs a painting of Rosebank General Store dated 1907, a time when the store was the hub of the village. When Lois first took over the business in 1994 it was in desperate need of some TLC, so she renovated, started the Green Frog Caf and even produced an information brochure to attract tourists.
People are doing it hard, said Lois of the changes she has witnessed, and I think its just the beginning. The government needs to stop lying to us that the economy is going great, and the banks have to stop pushing credit down our throats.
While petrol prices, high rents and GST have all played a part in the demise of the store, Lois believes it is a deeper rejection of the importance of community that is forcing her to close.
Today there might be wealthier people in our community but a lot of them arent community minded, said Lois. The hippies knew the importance of buying local and supporting the community. All the wealthy city people who come up here dont care about community and do their shopping elsewhere.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.