by Amy Haydock
IT'S not often you'll see a hot box of meat pies and sausage rolls in a fruit and vege shop, but where there's a gap in the market, Nicki Smith always does her best to try and fill it.
After the recent closure of all three bakeries in Yeppon's CBD, known as Loaf by the Beach, owner of Capricorn Fruit Supplies, Nicki said the community had been asking her if she was selling any type of hot pastries.
"I used to sell vegan pies and bread and because we also have fresh sandwiches I think people thought we might have them still," she said.
"We started supplying them on Tuesday and have sold out every day, but we got a few extra in."
"We're not your traditional fruit and vege shop as such, we do a lot of our business at the back door with supplies to restaurants. We really struggle with our front of house business so we thought if no one's doing it (selling pies and sausage rolls), we may as well.
With the earlier closure of the Normanby St bakery and the town's iconic Pie Alley, the only other bakery in Yeppoon was in Cedar Park's shopping village.
"I think it's devastating," Nicki said of the closures.
"Since Pie Alley closed it really lost its vibe. But so many workmen are asking where they can a pie in the morning.
"I know IGA are selling Bassy's Bakery bread (from Emu Park) but that's not until later in the day."
Buying the fruit and vege shop in Normanby St just four days before ex-tropical Cyclone Marcia ripped through the region in 2015, Nicki said she had noticed a decline in customers over the past two years.
"It's been a big uphill struggle, people have left town, and offices in Rocky and Yeppoon have closed, so our trade declined because of that," she said.
"I think not having the office staff around who would buy lunch (has affected business).
"And then after the resort closed I definitely noticed the town took an extra step back."