After 11 years of running the her family's business,Valley Rural Services owner Chris Pollard and her daughter Courtney Pollard said they will shut down in less than two months time, on September 1.
After 11 years of running the her family's business,Valley Rural Services owner Chris Pollard and her daughter Courtney Pollard said they will shut down in less than two months time, on September 1. Zizi Averill

Family's final bid to save vital business

IN JUST two months time, the last outpost for fuel and rural supplies in the upper Pioneer Valley will close its doors, but the family-run business owners remains hopeful a buyer will save the service station.

After 11 years of running her family's business, Valley Rural Services owner Chris Pollard said they would shut down on September 1.

As the only service station in the upper Pioneer Valley she knew its closure would deeply rock the Finch Hatton and surrounding communities.

When the service station closes, residents will have to travel more than half an hour into Marian to refuel, and all the way to Mackay to pick up some rural supplies.

"The community is really shocked that we're closing, but I can't do it any more," Mrs Pollard said.

On Sunday June 23, State of Origin night, the family business was allegedly targeted in a brazen burglary resulting in thousands of dollars worth of stock losses.

Mother-daughter team Chris Pollard and Courtney Pollard said they have been forced to close Valley Rural Services after thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of stock.
Mother-daughter team Chris Pollard and Courtney Pollard said they have been forced to close Valley Rural Services after thieves stole thousands of dollars worth of stock. Zizi Averill

For Mrs Pollard, the financial strain of covering the losses, as well as the emotional trauma from the crime, meant she had no choice but to close the fuel station.

"Its the only course of action I can see to keep me sane," she said.

To avoid her neighbours the pain and hassle of the half-hour commute, Mrs Pollard said she was hopeful a new buyer would come along.

A new buyer could keep the fuel pumping and the community happy, she said.

As part of a package deal she said she was selling the business, its stock and a five-bedroom house with two sheds for $570,000.

She said it was a "reasonable price" for the two acre property and small business.

So far, Mrs Pollard said she had received one inquiry about the sale.

Buyers have until September 1 to make an offer. After that Mrs Pollard said she would list the business as real estate.

"Soon after that I won't be selling the business, just the land under it," she said.

But Mrs Pollard said ideally it would not come to that.

"Once all the stock is gone someone will come along and say 'don't close your doors'," she hoped.



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