THE owner of Airlie Beach Baskin Robbins has been locked out of her store in what is usually one of their busiest weeks of trade, because their franchise caretakers had not paid the rent.
The store employed 10 staff who are now out of work.
Store owner Trish Hoerlein said she had been paying rent to Brisbane company Allied Brands, who had been looking after Australian Baskin Robbins franchises.
Allied Brands went into administration late last month and has not been paying the rent to the landlord in Airlie Beach.
Mrs Hoerlein said schoolies week was usually her third biggest week of the year.
She believed she would have lost about $10,000 in business trade in the last four days since the locks to her business had been changed by the landlord on Thursday night.
“It is peak times like this you look forward to,” she said.
Inside the store is more than 150 tubs of ice cream that was ready for the weekend.
“Leading up to Christmas isn't the best time for them but I had no way of telling this was going to happen,” she said.
“We've only survived where we are because my husband is working away on contract in Darwin.
“The rent was already too high,' she said.
“During the wet season it is roughly 50 per cent of my turnover but we had made the decision to wait through the hard times until the [economic] conditions get better in Airlie.”
The store's landlord, Clint Coker, said the rent was “four to five months or more” in arrears from Allied Brands but he said he understood the Hoerleins had been paying their rent to the company.
“We contacted the franchisee and they were obviously very upset and distraught their funds had not been received,” he said.
Mr Coker said he had put a proposal to Mrs Hoerlein to take on the rent herself at a “substantial reduction” but this had not yet happened.
The saga continues between the landlord and Mrs Hoerlein over rate negotiations but Mrs Hoerlein said she would be looking to secure another premises in the Airlie main street because the proposal put forward by Mr Coker was too high.
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