Business

Cudlee Creek business owners ask for visitors to help keep them afloat after bushfires devastated their land and economy

Cudlee Creek business owners ask for visitors to help keep them afloat after bushfires devastated their land and economy

Along with donating, one of the best ways to support the fire-stricken Hills community is simply to visit their cafes, pubs and wineries.

Ms Wilkinson’s cafe dodged a bullet, coming within metres of the devastating wildfire on December 20.

“We need to get back to normality as soon as possible,” Ms Wilkinson said.

“We need to be doing business as usual.”

Ms Wilkinson said the spirit of the tight-knit community remained as strong as ever and had rallied behind her.

“We’ve been even busier because of people being inquisitive and wanting to help.”

But she urged people to continue to support the area in the months ahead.

Cudlee Creek cafe owner Babette Wilkinson in the cafe’s garden.

Other businesses are not doing as well.

The Lobethal Hotel duty manager Wendy Brussell said they lost “a phenomenal” amount of money, with a loss of revenue from people who would have visited the Lights of Lobethal.

Ms Brussell said the recent spell of hot weather had not helped with people not wanting to leave their homes.

Ms Brussell said spending money at the hotel and other businesses was a good way of donating.

“If you can’t afford to donate, come and have lunch or a drink,” Ms Brussell said.

“Everyone who works here is local … we spend the money here so it all goes around.”

Lobethal Hotel Duty Manager Zoe Watkins serves in the main bar.

Local winemaker James Tilbrook is asking people stay in contact with his business by following it on social media as they attempt to restore the entirety of the wine stock. Mr Tilbrook was left with six bottles of sparkling wine after fires destroyed $300,000 of wine and most of the Tilbrook Estate vineyard.

More than 20 per cent of their vines were completely destroyed and the remainder damaged by heat stress with no guarantee they would last the summer. His winemaking equipment and irrigation system was also destroyed in the blaze.

“For the first few days I went to the vineyard, and just stood there with my mouth open,” Mr Tilbrook said.

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