COOLBELLUP’S IGA has fallen victim to competition from the new Woolies next door.
The decision to close the independent grocers was apparently forced on owner Rod King, who didn’t even have time to alert customers; they queued in front of the shop’s closed roller doors on Friday morning.
It was left to neighbouring newsagent Martin Dawkins to put up a sign alerting them that the IGA would be closed until further notice.
Mr Dawkins told the Herald that losing the shopping centre’s anchor tenant was devastating for the remaining businesses, but he was optimistic they would survive if the community rallied behind them.
He said Coolbellup was unusual because most shops were owned by the businesses that operated in them and there was no central management. He chairs the strata company.
“From the shopping centre’s point of view they are our core tenant and without the support of the community, the rest of the tenants – we could be in trouble,” Mr Dawkins told the Herald.
“But I am optimistic; this will bring changes and we need to give it time and wait for the process, but then we can work with the strata owners to get the right tenants in there.
“We are trying to create a community atmosphere, we’re not a sterile shopping centre.”
Mr Dawkins said while he wasn’t privy to what ultimately brought the IGA down, he believed there could have been a different outcome had Mr King been able to last a couple more months.
“We know that the owners of the IGA were working hard to build up their customer base and were making a lot of changes in the store,” he said.
“We have spent a lot of money on the facelift of the centre, and we’re not finished yet, and the owners are dedicated to making it a thriving community hub.”
The IGA’s phone rang out when the Herald called this week.
by STEVE GRANT