ISHKA enters voluntary administration after 'catastrophic' summer
A family-owned retail chain, with a store in Tamworth, has announced it is entering voluntary administration after a "catastrophic" summer season.
ISHKA announced their decision, and owner Toby Darvall said they have been battling to save the business for a while.
"We want our staff, our makers and our suppliers to know we are here to help and support them," he said.
"We know the ripple effect an event like this can have on hundreds of families and communities involved in the company.
“We thought we were going to have to lose our local store in the middle of last year but we struggled through, however, the last couple of months have really tipped us over and now we are in for the fight of or lives."
For now, all stores, including the Tamworth outlet on Peel Street, will remain open.
ISHKA, with over 450 employees, sells hand-made crafts, homewares, gifts, clothing, furniture and jewellery from throughout the world, and was started almost 50 years ago in a small workshop in Melbourne.
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The retail chain has 60 stores, including 15 country stores.
“After a catastrophic Christmas and summer, we realised everything wasn’t right so we’ve been flat out working on solutions to protect staff, suppliers, landlords and creditors," Mr Darvall said.
"We’ve done everything and explored every option we could to save the business and we are working very closely with our bank.
"This is a heartbreaking decision to make."
Mr Darvall added that Australia’s unusually challenging summer period, paired with more than $3 million worth of Christmas stock delayed on the wharfs, crippled the business.
“We want our staff, makers and suppliers to know that they will be paid regardless of the outcome," he said.
"They are our number one priority. We are now in for the fight of our lives to save ISHKA."
Rachel Burdett of Cor Cordis has been appointed administrator of the business and will convene a meeting of creditors within a week.
“All we can do now is ask our loyal customers to please support us, our staff and makers by shopping, and telling their friends to shop too - please help to save ISHKA,” Mr Darvall said.