IGA store fears for jobs

THE owner of the Strathfieldsaye Supa IGA is concerned two planned Woolworths developments will cost local jobs and squeeze the independent store out of the market. 

Woolworths wants to build a supermarket complex about 300 metres from the IGA, and another development next to Strath Village. 

Mark Geyer, who co-owns the store with the Bateson family, said Strathfieldsaye couldn’t support a second supermarket. IGA commissioned a report which found Bendigo had 30 per cent more supermarket floor space than the state average.  

“The report found it would probably reduce our trade by about 30 per cent,” Mr Geyer said. 

“As a consequence, we would have to really look at our employment and adjust those staffing levels to suit the loss we would have. 

“It would certainly have a dramatic effect.” 

Mr Geyer said 120 staff worked at the store. “It would not only impact on the staff, but surrounding traders as well,” he said. 

“We’re local people that have taken an enormous gamble over the past six years, in particular in developing that site. 

“We’re not against competition but the current population figures don’t support two shopping precincts in a small shopping community like Strathfieldsaye.” 

The Strathfieldsaye development is believed to be with the City of Greater Bendigo planning department and the Strath Village development is before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. 

Councillor Mark Weagoda said there was still work to be done with the Strathfieldsaye Woolworths. 

“There’s already a lot of congestion there with people getting in and out of school,” he said.  

“I’m not opposed to growth but at this stage, I don’t feel it’s the most appropriate position for a supermarket.”

Woolworths did not respond to the Advertiser’s questions in time for publication.

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