Brooms Head residents were forced to change some of their day-to-day habits when the general store was closed after being placed in receivership – no more ducking down to the shop for supplies, filling the car up or accessing the Post Office agency.
If all goes smoothly post-purchase, the new owners, Taloumbi residents Nathan and Ros Brown, “will start trading as soon as we can”.
The Browns’ successful $1.265million bid for the property – the store, a residence and five units – fulfilled their long-held desire to purchase the property.
Mr Brown said friends put the property on the market 13 years ago.
“But we could not afford it then,” he said.
Then, when put into “receivership two or three years ago, we couldn’t come to terms with the last owners”.
Meanwhile, people have posted on social media; some saying it was a bargain, others suggesting the Browns paid too much because the property has been vandalised while vacant, and the repairs required are extensive and costly.
Mr Brown, however, said he is comfortable with the price.
“We were always prepared for the price to go higher … factoring in the price of real estate in Yamba and Coffs Harbour; in theory it should have been more like $2m,” he said.
“The last house sold in Brooms Head went for $1.5m; it was a knock down house.
“I always had that in back of my mind; we won’t be going backwards.”
Mr Brown said he had checked with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) regarding hydrocarbon pollution associated with the underground fuel tanks.
He said he had engaged an environmental officer, with whom he had discussed tests of the tanks completed in 2012 and taken core samples of the ground surrounding the tanks.
“We’re not too concerned about the contamination [found] from the core drilling,” he said.
“We can’t be certain until we dig it up and have a look … but the tanks are past their use by date, [and] we are not going to sell fuel.”
Mr Brown said he expected to get the key from the bank at the end of May.
“We would love to get in there sooner, because it is a mess; there’s still stuff [rotting] in the fridges and rubbish everywhere,” he said.
“But we’re waiting for [the real estate agent] to speak to the bank on that – public liability, etcetera.
“We hope to be trading by the end of June.”