Owner John Barnes
Owner John Barnes Samantha Poate

Cash 'saved for a raining day' helped keep Diggers afloat

OWNER of Aussie Diggers Camping & Workwear John Barnes said he was reasonably lucky as he had a plan and funds "saved up for a raining day”.

"We were fairly lucky in a way,” he said. "I had just bought a big new truck and we moved 39 pallets from next door. We got them away and we just started to put stuff up inside the shop when we were ordered out by an SES (volunteer),” Mr Barnes said.

"About $200,000 of stock was damaged. We would have gotten all of that up if it hadn't been for him.

"I thought I was well covered - I would have been if it hadn't been for that SES bloke.

"Some people got a uniform, got power drunk and cost people a lot of money.”

Mr Barnes said he believes if he was allowed one more hour, staff could have saved the majority of stock.

"Some stock I was able to save and sell as flood damage but a hell of a lot of it was just tossed out,” Mr Barnes said.

Mr Barnes said it took a long time to get the business back on track.

"It has been a long, hard haul but we got there. We've had to replace a lot of the shelving and other stuff,” he said.

"We are still working on it slowly. Repairs inside the building are still being done, some of the shelving is still being replaced, but generally speaking we are pretty good.”

Neighbouring businesses haven't been as lucky, with many closing down in North Lismore.

"A few businesses have closed around the area but a lot of them were about to close anyhow,” Mr Barnes said.

"I really can't complain - I am in a flood area and I have had one in 23 years.

"I was a farmer for a lot of my life. You don't get a good season every year and this is just a bad season.”