Two months ago, the owners of Hamilton Island Watersports had every reason to believe their 30-year-old family business was in danger of going under.
Founder Gail Harvey described how Cyclone Debbie struck with such force that the island was left in disrepair.
“It was just totally flattened and devastated,” Ms Harvey said.
“A small family business isn’t easy. You have to take the good and the bad and the ugly, and I’d probably put Tropical Cyclone Debbie into the ugly.”
Owner Andrew Harvey said like much off the island, the adventure sports business was also left with significant damage.
“Our shop had been blown in, the windows blown in, our stock pushed to the back of the walls,” he explained.
“All the front doors were broken. One of our vessels had sunk.”
He was put in touch with NAB’s specialist support team, NAB Assist, which was able to put in place a range of measures to provide temporary financial relief to help the owners get back on their feet.
“With zero income NAB were very kind enough to put a hold on all the interest and loan repayments until we steadied our ship. Some of the biggest worries were ‘are we ever going to work again?’”
Andrew’s wife Melinda is in charge of the accounts and said their situation wasn’t just about keeping a business afloat, it was about people.
“If the bank didn’t support us, then we wouldn’t be able to support our staff,” she said.”
The Harvey family were not alone in their experience. NAB Assist has worked to support hundreds of customers impacted by the cyclone and associated flooding.
Click here to find out more about NAB Assist.
Airlie Beach branch reopens to community
NAB’s Airlie Beach branch has reopened after extensive damage from Cyclone Debbie forced it to close its doors.
Branch Manager Nicole Hunt thanked customers for their patience over the past few months as the NAB branch was gutted by tradesmen and effectively rebuilt.
“It wasn’t until we started to pull the walls away that the full extent of the water damage became apparent,” Ms Hunt said.
“We had water coming in from all angles long after the cyclone ended, through the roof and from the neighbouring buildings.
“The silver lining was that the rebuild process gave us the opportunity to redesign the branch to make it better than it was before.
“Our priority during this time was to make sure our customers were still supported and we did so with the help of our neighbouring Proserpine branch.
“Thank you to our customers for your loyalty during this time, we look forward to seeing you all back in Airlie Beach.”