Liquidators of a popular Goulburn cafe have called for expressions of interest in the business and its assets.
The community was left shocked after Thursday's sudden closure of the Greengrocer cafe and cyclery in Clifford Street.
Patrons booked in for dinner that evening were notified of the closure that day. Other longtime patrons said they had no warning the cafe was shutting its doors. A sign on the door directed enquiries to the liquidator.
It comes three months after the death of longtime owner, Con Toparis, in a bicycle collision on Crookwell Road.
Chifley Advisory was appointed as liquidator on Friday, May 12, Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) showed. It was described as a creditors' voluntary winding up. The decision to wind up the company, Greengrocer Cafe Pty Ltd, and voluntarily liquidate was made at a meeting of company members the same day.
Co-owner and Mr Toparis's wife, Lana Easterby, was not available for comment on the reasons behind the decision.
Chifley Advisory is calling for expressions of interest in the business and assets, including plant, equipment and intellectual property. The building is leased and is not part of the sale.
"Experienced staff may also be available," its ad states.
Expressions of interest close on May 23 but Chifley Advisory reserves the right to withdraw the sale process "without further notice."
The liquidators did not return requests for comment.
However close Toparis family friend, Jeremy Gilchrist, conveyed a statement from Ms Easterby on Monday.
"In many ways Greengrocer was Con and will forever be. The family is devastated with his loss and unfortunately the business can't continue without him," it stated.
Mr Gilchrist confirmed the business was for sale.
"I hope someone will revitalise it into an exciting cafe and social hub for the Goulburn community," he said.
"I believe there are some interested parties. I hope the sale can be quick and we can get back to having a cafe and that employees can continue with a new team."
Mr Gilchrist told The Post he understood all employees had received their final pay and superannuation and that entitlements were being processed. However he could not supply details about the business' financial situation before the liquidator's appointment.
The keen cyclist said he and many others would miss the popular eatery. Cyclists regularly converged on the Clifford Street cafe and cyclery, which Mr Toparis established 20 years ago in the former Wesfarmers Landmark building.
His son, Eli, told Mr Toparis' funeral congregation in March that the innovative business was his father's dream and became "one of the most successful cycling stores in the southern hemisphere."
"The shop for all its positives is a leviathan that was built, maintained and grew with the efforts of one man, Con. Dad gave so much to the community, but The Greengrocer was his biggest gift to Goulburn," he said.
Mr Gilchrist said Mr Toparis and his wife, Lana, had worked hard to create a place where people felt comfortable and relaxed.
"After Con's passing, Eli worked really hard to keep the shop running through a difficult period," he said.
The 20-year-old is studying a double degree in economics and philosophy, politics and economics at the Australian National University. His 15-year-old brother, Costa, took up a Formula GB3 racing contract with Rodin Carlin Motorsport in the UK earlier this year.
Meantime, Goulburn Cycling Club president, Adam Lambert, said on Saturday that the closure came as a shock.
"The details are unknown but the thought of a future in Goulburn without Greengrocer Cafe is a bit stark and disappointing," he said.
"The successful part of the business is the cafe and that will be missed for its location, size and atmosphere. It was rarely empty. Fingers crossed it will get through and for a second time we will see it rise from the ashes."
The original cafe was extensively damaged by fire in January, 2016 but Mr Toparis was determined to rebuild.
Another regular, Peter Sykes, had coffee at about 6.30am every day at Greengrocer. He was also shocked to see it closed on Friday morning.
"The consensus was that it was an institution in town. It will be sorely missed and I hope someone else takes up the gauntlet," he said.
"It was like an office for me. You'd see lots of people you knew and some you didn't know. Everyone is disappointed and sad to see it go. I wish them (the owners) all the best."
Do you have something to say about this issue? Send a letter to the editor. Click here for the Goulburn Post
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: