Moruya's IGA Supa store is no longer commercially viable and must close on February 1, says the company that purchased it, along with 79 other Franklins stores, two years ago.
Grocery wholesaler Metcash Limited in 2010 agreed to purchase 80 Franklins stores, but the deal was delayed for two years after an ACCC rebuttal, which was finally reversed in the Federal Court.
The future looked sound for the Queen St store in September last year when it was rebranded IGA Supa, but on January 7, 41 staff learned they would lose their jobs.
With a Woolworths monopoly looming, signs above fast-emptying shelves inform customers that they will not be restocked.
Metcash, which owns the IGA brand and is a wholesaler to IGA stores, has so far sold 57 Franklins stores to new operators, but not Moruya’s.
A Metcash spokesman said that he was “very disappointed the store had to be closed, but sadly it was no longer commercially viable”.
Regular shopper Allan Willcocks bemoaned the loss of “variety” and of jobs.
“It is a lot of people and it is a small town, there is not much work around. There is no competition and that is unfair.”
He said the Woolworths bottle shop gave it an edge.
“That is the attraction,” he said.
Robert Miners regretted the coming monopoly.
“It is just a shame for the town,” he said.
“We definitely need two supermarkets, especially in the holidays. They will just up the prices now.”
Leo and Jackie Demchy travel regularly from Tuross Head to the store but are now contemplating trips to Batemans Bay Aldi.
“We have a Franklins card, you get points and that works for us,” Mrs Demchy said.
“We come and get the bargains here and go to Woolworths last. Monopoly is no good anywhere, particularly here. Now this has happened, we will have to make the effort to go to Batemans Bay.”
Mr Demchy said the couple did “the bulk of our shopping here and picked up bits and pieces at Woolies”.
“If you check Woolies’ prices at Narooma, against prices here and against Batemans Bay, they are all different. You can’t have a monopoly.”
Marg Niland, of Bergalia, said the closure was a shock.
“First we had Retravison close down, then the butchers next door and now our biggest store. It is a bit of a shame. I think it will worry people. Woolworths will have the monopoly.”
Anthony Poucher said monopoly was not “fair trade” but believes the site is earmarked for Coles.
“There is going to be another supermarket here and it will be Coles,” he said.
“If you look in the phone book, this is listed as a Coles store. Why would they pay the phone bill? Who owns who?”