Bob Horn, proprietor of Nambour Produce died on site at his store after falling six metres from a shed roof.
The community has rallied around them to keep the doors of his beloved Nambour Produce store open, buoyed by an outpouring of community support for the well-known local businessman.
Mr Horn had owned and operated the store on National Park Road for more than 30 years and dedicated his life to the business, working seven days a week. The Nambour store provided hay, animal feed and produce supplies to hundreds of customers every week — an essential service for many who have been hand-feeding livestock and animals for months during recent dry conditions.
On Sunday, February 3, the 63-year-old was working on the roof of a shed at the business when it gave way, causing him to fall around six metres and is believed to have been killed instantly. He was found dead by police several hours later.
Mr Horn’s brother-in-law, Trevor Raymond, drove straight to the Sunshine Coast from Yeppoon after hearing the devastating news.
It has been a difficult time for the family, not only dealing with Mr Horn’s death, but also working out how his business operated because Mr Horn was the only employee.
“He’d work by himself all week … he never took a day off,” Mr Raymond said.
Mr Raymond said his brother-in-law had never married and was committed to running the store.
“Matter of fact, if he did get married he wouldn’t have made it to his own wedding … he would have been at the shop,” he joked.
Mr Horn built the business with his father in the late 1980s. “They bought the produce store in Price Street, so they closed that and they built this one brand new, Bob and his Dad,” Mr Raymond said.
Mr Horn’s death has sparked a huge community response, with many people volunteering their time to help Mr Raymond, who admits he had little idea about the stock and business.
“All the feed and seed stores around … they’ve all offered to help, even the lady from Beerwah offered to send a lady up to help, and pay her,” he said.
Mr Raymond said customers had broken down on hearing news of Mr Horn’s death.
“When I tell them … everyone flew into tears and it was just a terrible loss,” he said.
Some customers have also chipped in with free labour, to help find stock and prices for goods, most of which Mr Horn never kept a record of.
“It was all up here [in his head] for Bobby,” Mr Raymond said.
“On the Tuesday we opened, Pauline [a customer] came in and she saw what a pickle I was in and they rang me up on Friday and said ‘look can we come down on Saturday morning and check all your prices?’ and they labelled everything.”
Local university student Brady Conolly has spent what would have been the last of his holidays volunteering at the store, despite having little knowledge about animal produce.
“I knew Bob had pretty complicated systems of everything being in his head,” Mr Conolly said.
“I’ve just sort of been doing all the prices, finding them all … everyone’s been really good and patient and understanding.”
Mr Conolly said he was happy to help the family out. “It’s just nice to give back to the community and help people, helping Trevor and trying to get a sense of everything,” he said.
‘Couldn’t see his dream just stop’. Mr Raymond said without the community’s help and generosity, he fears he would have had to close the store. “If that wasn’t there it would be quite easy for me just to close the door and say righto … let the weevils take over, and try to sell it in three months or something and throw everything out, what a waste,” he said.
“It’s just the decency to help Bob, I couldn’t see his dream just stop.”
A funeral service for Mr Horn will be held in Nambour this Friday.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has confirmed it is investigating the incident.
Source: ABC News