General News

17 January, 2023

Highway icon closes after 36 years

AFTER 36 years of working seven days a week, Brian Herbohn has decided it is time for a well-deserved retirement, closing the doors to his iconic roadside business, the Termite.

By Ellie Fink

Termite owner Brian Herbohn and staff member Brooke Butler on their second last day of trade
Termite owner Brian Herbohn and staff member Brooke Butler on their second last day of trade

The Emerald Creek business closed its doors on Friday 13 January after years of supplying an abundance of unique fruits, vegetables, takeaway food, chutney, jam, and honey.

Starting out as a caravan park fruit and veg shop supplying workers building the Kennedy Highway, the shop has seen several changes over the last three and a half decades.

“It used to be a part of the land (across the highway from the shop) before Main Roads came through and the land was split in half,” Brain said.

“Originally it was called the Pavey’s Barn, but we bought it off them and changed the name to the Termite and added a few extensions to it here and there.”

As traffic between Cairns and Mareeba began to increase significantly every day, the Termite welcomed new customers through their doors, with Brian’s homemade chutney and the iconic “croc and chips” being some of the biggest hits.

Putting his chilli chutneys, sauces and jams made from leftover fruits on the shelves is one of Brian’s biggest highlights in the business and he believes it was the reason the business grew and brought in some of his most loyal customers.

Brian said shutting down the shop was a very hard decision but after working every day since opening, he is ready to take a break and travel.

“It’s time to have a look around – I have a camping trailer to travel around Australia in and after that go see what Europe is about,” he said.

As Brian and his wife still live at the Termite, the future of the shop itself is unknown but the couple have a few plans in mind.

“I still have a bit of cleaning and fixing up to do and I am still making my sauces and jams (out of the shop) which a I supply to businesses like the Humpy and that,” he said.

“After that I think I might sell the place. I do really like living here because it’s so quite and I can’t even see the neighbours, but my wife wants to sell because (the property) is too big to look after.”

Brian, his wife and the staff at the Termite would like to thank those who have supported them over the last 36 years.


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