WHEN staff at Leading Edge Telecoms shut the doors to go home on Friday afternoon, they didn't expect it would be for the last time.
But by that evening, the Phillip St store had a sign on its front window reading 'this store will not re-open'.
And a text message from the owners reportedly woke staff at 2am Saturday, telling them the store had shut and they no longer had a job.
Leading Edge Telecoms has a shop at the Windmill Centre, two stores in Rockhampton, one in Yeppoon and one in Gracemere.
In one night all the stores were emptied and closed.
Resident Joshua Valks ordered a brand new phone with LET after swapping from Optus. But now he doesn't expect he will receive it.
"I finally decided to swap to Telstra and I thought I would go through Leading Edge. I was thinking of supporting a local franchise," he said.
"They ordered me a new phone as they were waiting for new stock to come in."
"I haven't received it."
State MP Liz Cunningham bought equipment from the store and said she had visited three or four times just in the past month.
She was disappointed Gladstone has lost a business of its calibre.
"People want to shop locally and when bosses are making decisions like this it makes it difficult," she said.
"I found the staff incredibly helpful. They were personable and I really valued the service they provided."
Mum Kirrily Southall switched to Telstra from Optus because of the service at the Gladstone store.
"The staff are the reason why I chose Telstra," she said. "They were way too helpful," she said.
"I've been at least 10 times to get some mobile phones, WiFi and an iPad.
"If anything ever went wrong I went straight there.
"I am quite annoyed," Mrs Southall said.
"You weren't a number there (at LET)."
About 30 to 40 employees are believed to be affected across the central Queensland region.
Attempts to contact the store owners were unsuccessful over the weekend, and Telstra was also unable to provide a response.
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