REVEALED: Brodies in talks of returning to Gympie
PRAYERS may be answered for loyal barbecue chicken lovers who were devastated when the Brodies Mealmakers closed in Gympie, hauntingly leaving its former store sitting signed but vacant for three years.
The 12-store-strong Queensland chain, that began in Gympie in the late 1980s, revealed this week it aims to find a way back to Gympie after its store on the corner of the Bruce Highway and Channon St closed in 2015 due to "management issues”.
Real estate agent NAI Harcourts confirmed it is in negotiations with Brodies after the former site became available for lease a fortnight ago after plans to redevelop the business area changed.
But, agent Michael Baker said the agency was also in contact with up to half a dozen other national food chains about taking up lease of the site.
"There's a lot of interest; whoever puts something together that's acceptable to the landlord will get the lease,” Mr Baker said.
"Brodies is one of the potential tenants we are talking to,” he said.
READ HERE: Old Brodies site ready for new business
The huge interest in the store site had not surprised him.
"Given the location, access exposure and size of the block I'm really not surprised,” he said.
"It's probably one of the best sites in Gympie.”
A Brodies head office spokesman told The Gympie Times it intended to return to the store's birthplace.
He said despite sales previously being high in Gympie, Brodies had been rocked by management issues and leadership conflict and was forced to close its Gympie store as one of four Queensland franchises in 2015.
"Since then we have been trying to bring Brodies back to Gympie,” he said.
"People were showing their love by sending us messages, there were a lot of people upset.
"They have childhood memories of the store.”
Readers voiced their opinion in a social media poll run by The Gympie Times, with 20 per cent wanting the return of Brodies.
Sizzler, a Mexican restaurant, Grill'd, Hog's Breath, Zarraffa's Coffee and Nando's were also on Gympie's wish list of food outlets to take over.
Mr Baker said what the Gympie public wanted would be considered, as would the financial sustainability of any potential business tenant.
Once all applications were assessed, a new tenant would be announced in a process that would take about eight weeks.