Mungindi temporary supermarket opens to the public thanks to mammoth community effort

Less than two weeks after the devastating fire that destroyed the town's only supermarket, the Mungindi community now have a temporary store to purchase groceries and essential supplies.

The Mungindi Community Store opened to the public on Monday, following a mammoth effort from the whole community who came together over the past few weeks to help set up the pop-up supermarket in the disused RSL Club building.

"It's been just incredible," Mungindi Progress Association president Anna Harrison said.

"It's so hard to believe that's been done in less than two weeks - it'll be two weeks tonight (Tuesday) that the fire happened. It's crazy.

"And it's a huge supermarket, not just a little pop-up shop."


Although the range of items available won't be as great as what was available at the SPAR Supermarket, the community do now have access to the majority of items normally found in their grocery store aisles.

The temporary supermarket has been set up in the disused RSL Club, with the fit-out and cost of stock covered by $100,000 in emergency funding from the state government.

However, Ms Harrison said everyone in the community helped play a role in establishing the pop-up store, from cleaning the building, putting together shelving, unloading stock, stacking shelves and more.

"Even people who said, 'I'm too old to help, but I'll bring food for the helpers'," Ms Harrison said.

"It took people giving up their day job to help out ... a lot of people have given everything they can to make it happen.

"This has just shown us that there are people out there that want to help, you just have to ask.

"It has just been one hell of an effort.

"For a community group, I think we've done bloody awesome.

"I challenge another town to go and build a supermarket in two weeks. I'm incredibly proud of everyone in our town."

Ms Harrison said it was critical that the temporary supermarket was up and running as soon as possible so that the community wouldn't have to leave town to do their shopping, which was hurting other local businesses.

"Most of the businesses down the street have reported a loss of income since the fire, which shows that a lot of people have been shopping out of town," she said.

"It was so important for us to get it up and running as soon as possible to not only provide that service to the community, but to support the businesses that are there."

On its first day of trading on Monday, Ms Harrison said staff reported a steady flow of customers all day.

"Consistently people were coming in and out all day," she said.

"They were happy to come in and see what was there. It feels like a community store."

And while it has been an emotional time for the owners of SPAR Supermarket, which burnt to the ground, Ms Harrison said it's been nice for them to see just how much the community values its grocery store.

"They cannot believe how the community has rallied and has a shop up and running," she said.

"The staff have also been loving the support they've been getting."

Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall visited the progress of the temporary store's set-up on Thursday and said the way the town has rallied behind the owners of the three destroyed businesses and worked to pull the store together in just over a week is a "real credit to its unwavering community spirit".

"Already pushed to the brink by drought and COVID-19 border restrictions, Mungindi is a resilient community which refuses to be kicked down," he said.

The Mungindi Progress Association will be hosting a community barbecue on Saturday to thank the community and celebrate the opening of the Mungindi Community Store.

The sausage sizzle will be held in the front garden of the RSL from 9am, for a gold coin donation which will go back to the cost of putting it on.

"We're just having it to thank everyone; a lot of people have given a lot of time," Ms Harrison said.

"It will be a good day for us. The community does need that coming together afterwards and patting each other on the back."

The Mungindi Community Store is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. It will be closed Sundays.