Just days after Jamberoo's IGA store was destroyed by fire, owners Trevor Fredericks and Carmel Goldsmith have been dealt another cruel blow.
Just after 5pm on Boxing Day, an armed thief stormed into the Fredericks IGA Liquor Store in Kiama Downs, also owned by the couple, and robbed a male employee at gunpoint.
Police say the man pointed a shotgun at the staff member before demanding cash and, when the worker complied, the offender ran off.
Mr Fredericks yesterday told the Mercury he was at the new temporary Jamberoo store when he received the shocking call informing him of the robbery.
He rushed to the scene, where his first thoughts were for the staff member.
"We spoke with him last night and he seemed OK. We'll communicate with him . . . and talk about any counselling he might need," he said.
Mr Fredericks praised the worker for remaining calm in such a dangerous and stressful situation.
"He certainly did all the right things and followed the rules," he said.
"We're quite proud of the way he dealt with the situation."
Although the liquor store was closed immediately after the robbery, it was business as usual again yesterday.
The offender is described as 180 centimetres tall, of thin build, Caucasian with a tan and aged over 40.
At the time of the attack he was wearing a dirty cream-coloured cap and long-sleeved shirt and carrying a tattered black backpack.
He was last seen walking down North Kiama Drive.
"There was a witness. There was a customer in the store at the time, and her mother was in the car park and realised what was happening at the time, so there were three people who were able to give a description," Mr Fredericks said.
Despite the blow, a resilient Mr Fredericks remained upbeat yesterday, buoyed by the incredible outpouring of community spirit in the days since the Jamberoo store fire.
A blaze tore through the heritage-listed Allowrie Street building in the early hours of December 17.
The Fredericks family have occupied the building since 1961.
With the support of the close-knit Jamberoo community, the family has now opened a temporary store in the old arts precinct building next to the Jamberoo Pub.
"We opened on Friday, so we've been trading for five days and it's evolving every day," Mr Fredericks said.
"We couldn't have done it ourselves."
He urged anyone with information about the Kiama Downs robbery to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.