Supermarket wars claim another IGA

Hilton IGA owner Gino Divitini (centre) and staff whose jobs will all go when his lease winds up in April. Photo by Steve Grant

THE owner of Hilton’s IGA has been left devastated after his landlord signed a deal with one of Australia’s supermarket giants to redevelop the site behind his back.

Gino Divitini told the Herald the first he knew about the development was a staff member calling him a week ago to ask about an application posted on Fremantle council’s community consultation website.

The next day two signs also appeared in his car park advertising a 3,123sqm supermarket, liquor store and cafe with an underground car park.

“From my point of view we have been trying for three years to get a lease from the landlord and by all accounts we thought we had it,” Mr Divitini said.

He says negotiations were well advanced with his landlord for a multi-million dollar upgrade to the site, which would have involved adding windows along South Street to brighten the place up, new paintwork,  and solar panels on a new roof.

“When it’s raining heavily it leaks like a colander,” Mr Divitini said.

He had negotiated with IGA’s umbrella company Metcash for a $2 million renovation of the store’s interior.

“We would have been fantastically looking forward to repaying the customers for being with us for 12 years,” he said.

“The place was losing money when I bought it, but we have made it into a good, strong business looking like this,” he says of its decidedly dowdy interior, “so imagine if you can have a nice new shop what it might have achieved.

“But now I walk away after 12 years with absolutely zilch.”

Mr Divitini employs 80 staff and says they were rocked by the news but have stuck by him.

“Verbally they have said they will be here right to the end.”

Mr Divitini is convinced he’s been gazumped by Coles, saying the supermarket giant had already tried to buy him out twice and will be looking to keep a local presence when the Fremantle store closes temporarily for the Woolstores shopping centre redevelopment.

A couple of Mr Divitini’s staff we spoke to said they had no interest in trying to get a job with one of the major supermarkets if they moved in.

Anne told the Herald there was an autonomy at an independent supermarket that allowed her to order in items requested by customers, who she says will miss out on the service they currently provide.

“Just last week one of our customers got hit by a car out the front, and we did a card for her and someone went and visited her in hospital – I doubt that would happen with Mr Woolworths or Mr Coles,” she said. The Herald left a couple of messages with the Carcioni Group which owns the site, but they didn’t get back to us.


12 responses to “Supermarket wars claim another IGA

  1. The community is also furious about this, we love our local IGA and if they replace it with coles then good luck as none of us will shop there

  2. I am devastated by this news. I don’t drive and this IGA has been a godsend being within walking distance. I am dependent on its product range and won’t be supporting a coles supermarket.

  3. So sad to know this IGA will no longer be there for the locals. I shopped there for all the years the IGA has been in operation. It took over from Action and became a great place to shop with the customers in mind…friendly and helpful service with a good range of products and reasonable prices. Service was quite personslized.Loved shopping here! My sister would come all the way from the northern suburb of Scarborough to do her shopping. We only recently moved to Tasmania otherwise we would be shopping there still in preference to any of the larger supermarkets.What a loss for Hilton!!

  4. Aww really sad to hear. Love my local. Staff Glenys and Antoinella in Deli are brilliant sales assistant’s and is a pleasure to see them and get great service. Not Happy 😔

  5. A great loss to the community, good shop with friendly staff. Also we do not need another alcohol outlet.

  6. the replacement is neither Coles nor Woolworths- Or for that matter Aldi. It must be another independant if it will trade 24 hours.

  7. Very disappointing. IGA provides the service and choice for our community. Major supermarkets don’t do this. Fremantle needs to support the individuality of this area rather than profit to the powerful. That’s how I feel anyway.

  8. I am so truly sorry to hear this. I loved Hilton IGA and always enjoyed going there the 5yrs I lived there. The staff were always happy and you could really tell you you sourced produce for your customers. I still pop back as often as I can! My daughter used to say I must not talk to anyone as I’d take to long and I used to laugh saying I needed a good two hours as I’d see so many friends there.
    Thank you and to all the staff! The community is behind you and Hilton is so strong in Community!
    If there’s a vote, I’d love to put my vote in for you to stay!!

  9. This is terrible news. Paget St IGA is the best!!
    I will now be driving to South Freo. No way will I be shopping at coles or woolworths. Ever.
    So many of the landlords around Freo area have no morals and way too much money.

  10. Our IGA is such a community place to shop which the “big” supermarkets cannot or will not replicate. The IGA provides a range of products and such friendly, personal service which is just not to be had at either one of the “biggies”. I for one will not be shopping at either Coles of Woolworths if either come to this site!

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