EXCLUSIVE: Brunch's owner lost and numb after fire
TRACY Jaggard has battled against many brick walls over the past nine years to fulfil her dream of owning her own business, supplying healthy eating options to customers. But one phone call in the early hours of Sunday morning led to her world crashing down. Police were calling to tell her there was a fire at her Brunch's Cafe business on Musgrave St.
On Tuesday, insurance officers declared nothing in the cafe was salvageable, leaving Mrs Jaggard devastated. She has written her own story to share.
I HAVE always had the dream to own my own food-based business. So when the opportunity arose for me to purchase Natural Living on Denham St back in 2009 I jumped at the chance. Brunch's The Healthy Alternative was born.
We created a healthy option all baked on site. We catered for most dietary requirements and had great empathy for our customers with allergies and intolerances. We built the business up with our blood, sweat and tears to make it a local lunch destination. We then diversified our business into the catering sector which blossomed. Not long after that we were approached by other businesses whether we would be interested in supplying their cafes. So we took hold of the wholesale opportunity. Life was good. Everything had fallen into place.
We survived two floods and a cyclone in Denham St but was couldn't survive the new development that the Rockhampton Regional Council was planning for the upgrade of the CBD in 2015.
The first section of development was very disruptive to our business and businesses around us. We had a big decision to make - do we stick it out or move? We chose to move. We found a place in East St and we thought would be our forever home.
Then in 2017 we received the worst news; the owners of our building had sold out to the council. Then gave us 40 days' notice to evacuate the building. As the council has plans to demolish the building for a new walkway (still hasn't happened) to Quay St.
Again we had a decision to make - do we find another place to operate out of or close the doors. But those who know me know that I can be very stubborn. We found a site at 145 Musgrave St. Perfect for our business.
It took a lot of work from my family and friends to get this site ready for opening. There was many sleepless nights as we would finish work the East St store and scrub and clean the new site.
It took us one whole week just to scrub the roof and walls. Come moving day we closed the door at East St on Friday afternoon. Accomplished a full move and set up ready for trade Sunday morning (wholesale). We did it, we achieved the undoable.
Then the worst happened. I received phone call around 5.30am on Sunday from police saying they have just received reports that my shop was on fire.
I woke my husband in complete shock and raced to the shop. It was heart wrenching when we got there. All I could think of is what deliveries still had to be done for Monday, what prep work needed doing.
Sunday became a blur. The worst was to make the call to our team to tell them about the fire. I kept hold of the hope that all we needed to do is clean and we will be back running again.
We did not gain access to the shop until Monday afternoon to see the complete damage. We waited for the insurance assessor on Tuesday and walked through with them. When we received the worst news that nothing was salvageable. .
I'm totally lost and numb, nothing can explain the feeling I'm having. I'm so sad, so angry, so confused, so hopeless. Simple things set me off. One minute I'm full steam ahead, I got things to do and organise. The next I'm a mess over something.
My head keeps telling me I can do this while my heart is broken into a million pieces. I'm worry for my team. They now have to find another position. I'm worried about my wholesale customers as they have no supplier.
I'm worried about my family. How this is affecting them? I have busted my ass for the past nine years to build a reputable business that I was so proud to call my baby. To be able to rebuild and grow after every setback and my never give up stubbornness is something I was proud off.
The many hours spent making and baking products that my customers enjoyed. The interaction and the feel of friendship with my customers and the friendship of my team has been ripped from me in the cruellest way. I have no idea what to do now, where do I go, what do I do... just endless questions.
The support I have from the community has been amazing and we would like to thank all.
Queensland Police Service yesterday confirmed investigations were ongoing.