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Support continues to flow for Gladstone grocer

UPDATE 3.20PM: 

A FACEBOOK page has been created to cater for local small businesses.

Brian Hill created the page earlier today, and already it has more than 700 likes.

He read what happened to Mr Neill and saw there was a need for the page in the Gladstone community.

He and his partner Michelle will be the administrators of the page, named Gladstone local Businesses.

UPDATE 11.40AM: Administrators on the Gladstone Classifieds Facebook page have been kept busy this morning deleting posts about Gladstone grocer Rod Neill.

Mr Neill last week posted an emotional plea on the page, saying he had never done it so tough in 22 years of business in Gladstone.

The post was later removed by administrators, who said Mr Neill had broken the rules of the page.

Links to The Observer's story have been posted on the page multiple times this morning, before being removed.

 

Commenting on a post on the Gladstone Classifieds page that reminded posters of the rules, one admin said she would be happy to discuss the issue with Mr Neill.

However, the only way she was prepared to do that was through Facebook's personal message option.

She agreed the post's removal had become quite an issue, but declined a suggestion she should phone Mr Neill to explain the situation.

Being banned from a local Facebook page turned out pretty well for local grocer Rod Neill, who posted an emotional plea...

Posted by The Observer on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

 

The issue has resulted in a boost for Mr Neill's West Gladstone store, with sales of fruit and veg up this week.

One person posting on the Classifieds page said the fruit and vegetables she had purchased from Rod's Food Market had been fresh and reasonably priced.

"We should all be supporting local businesses when we can and this guy is 40+ yrs local.

"Get on down and support him and other small local businesses instead of the big supermarkets that make billion-dollar profits every year.

"He may be banned from this site but we all can support him in the way the helps most."

Commenting on The Observer's Facebook page, Lea Le said: "They banned Rod, but the guy who travels up to here to sell fruit and veg is always on there pushing his stock.

"What happened to support the locals?"

FACEBOOK FURY: Rod’s Food Market owner Rod Neill was banned from a Gladstone Facebook page after he pleaded with the community to support his struggling business.
FACEBOOK FURY: Rod’s Food Market owner Rod Neill was banned from a Gladstone Facebook page after he pleaded with the community to support his struggling business. Tegan Annett

EARLIER: A post on a Facebook page that ultimately cost local grocer Rod Neill his access to the site have actually given him a business gain he never expected.

An excerpt (you can view the entire post below) from his emotional plea to the community on the Gladstone Classifieds Facebook page over the weekend reads: "...Never in 22 years and 9 months of business in my store have I done it so tough...

"Whilst the so called BOOM gave us a lift for a short period of time... the construction in this town really hasn't been a benefit to local business with all the fifo workers who are not worth anything to locals...

"In the early days of my business I could never understand why the BIG GUYS had the lion's share of the fruit and vegetable sales... and even today it is still the same..."

He said he had wanted locals to know how dire his business situation was.

>> Passion for fruit and veg keeps Rod going at market

"I've seen all the booms, highs and lows, the building of QAL, the whole lot but greed took over the town and just with my area alone in my neighbourhood, I believe I've lost 60 customers in the last few years."

The post received hundreds of comments of support before it was removed by page administrators, who also banned Mr Neill from posting again.

His plea to the community might have got him banned from the site, but it certainly attracted the customers.

The sign outside Rod's Food Market in Mellefont St, West Gladstone.
The sign outside Rod's Food Market in Mellefont St, West Gladstone. Contributed

On a normal Saturday, Mr Neill makes $480-$550. Last Saturday, he had 600 customers through the door and sold $1837 worth of fruit and veg.

He says he hasn't seen those sorts of numbers for more than three years.

The administrators of the Gladstone Classifieds page declined to comment about why Mr Neill had been banned from the page.

The page does have a three strike policy though.

Mr Neill now has a flashing sign in front of his store that reads: 'Nice to see Gladstone Classifieds backing me up, they've banned me, nice one lady's (sic).'

The original post by Rod Neill on the Gladstone Classifieds Facebook page. The post was removed by administrators.
The original post by Rod Neill on the Gladstone Classifieds Facebook page. The post was removed by administrators. Contributed

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