Hope, and reel survival as Tackle World looks forward to new shop

Gael and Ron Vanderdrift are looking forward to moving into larger premises again.
Gael and Ron Vanderdrift are looking forward to moving into larger premises again.

Gael and Ron Vandefrift have been through a shop fire - with a total loss of stock - bushfires and COVID-19 but despite all that they remain positive and are looking forward to moving into a newly built replacement shop.

Gael and Ron have been in Merimbula trading as Tackle World for 21 years and can't wait to get back into bigger premises in the same location as they were when a fire destroyed their business in May 2019.

"We're very excited about moving in," Gael said. "It's been two years and there's been a limit on the amount of stock and supplies we could hold."

But she admits that given the bushfires and COVID, and the subsequent disappearance of visitors at critical times of the year, not holding so much stock wasn't always a bad thing.

Ron kept the doors open even after the bushfires, more for people to come in and have a talk, and a lot did.

Gael Vanderdrift

Gael and Ron are currently in a 60sqm shop and can't wait to get back into the rebuilt 165sqm shop in Merimbula's Market St.

"The new shop is exactly the same size as the one before and we couldn't ask for a better location," Gael said.

They kept the shop open the entire time thanks to JobKeeper, which they accessed until October 2020, and due to their own determination.

Work progressing at the new Tackle World shop.

Work progressing at the new Tackle World shop.

"Ron kept the doors open even after the bushfires, more for people to come in and have a talk, and a lot did, a lot came in, had a chat and we found it really good, just to be there and work together," Gael said.

Ron and Gael are 60 this year but have had to put retirement on hold.

You just have to keep going, looking forward - onwards and upwards.

Gael Vanderdrift

"We're in the same situation as everyone and a lot of retailers have done it a lot tougher than us," Gael said.

Geoff Turner has worked with Gael and Ron for 14 years and is now working seven days on/seven days off with another staff member.

He said that when things shut down at Easter last year, it was decided to have just one staff member on at a time "so that the whole business didn't shut down".

"We missed two to three solid weeks of trade when everyone got sent home last New Year's Eve," he said.

But Gael remains as upbeat as anyone can be about the year so far.

"We had a very good Easter and it was great to see the ambiance around town," she said.

"It picked up a bit in June and then, well, it's just a typical winter situation," Gael said.

She is looking forward to being in the new shop and trading in time for the Christmas period and summer holidays.

"You just have to keep going, looking forward - onwards and upwards," Gael said.

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