Doors close on Kustom Dreams
By DAVID BANCROFT
SOON after they opened their small, car hi-fi business last year, Nathan Hampshire and Luke Weatherly lost almost everything through theft.
Now, 10 months later, they are to lose the South Grafton premises from which they work.
Nathan and Luke, both in their early 20s, have been operating Kustom Dreams out of a small site in the Grafton Business Enterprise Centre's (BEC) business incubator in South Grafton.
But on Friday their doors will close, and they don't know what the future holds.
Last week BEC general manager Henk van der Merwe visited their business and told them that because they were behind in their rent, they would have to leave by Friday.
Nathan and Luke claim that at the time of the robbery they were told by the BEC that it would give them every assistance to get back on their feet. They say the support never came.
They also claim they fell behind in their payments to the BEC, partly because they received no invoices about money they owed, that trade displays they were offered did not eventuate and shared advertising they were told would be available did not happen.
They are all claims denied by Mr van der Merwe.
The two young business operators also say there was confusion about an amount of free rent offered by the BEC to help them get back on track.
"We are going to keep going somewhere else. There is nothing we can do about leaving, but we are not going to just drop it," Luke said.
"We would have been able to trade our way out of it (the debt)."
Mr van der Merwe said the pair had been required to get others to join up with the advertising campaign but had not done so.
"They have not proven their business model is profitable," he said.
"The concept is that you have time to make the business work. You don't get the support forever."
He said the pair had the opportunity to ask about their invoicing through the administration office at the site, but had not done so.
"While it is unfortunate that the business proved unviable at that site, we will forward any of their mail or other material to help them," he said.