THE owner of the Hargreaves Mall newsagency which went into liquidation earlier this month said the decision to close the store down was “heartbreaking”.
Justin Hyslop and his fiancé Julie Wilkinson claim they closed the doors on Hargreaves Mall News and Lotto on August 15 after Hallmark threatened to take the pair to court for a debt of more than $60,000.
The card manufacturer was a major supplier of the newsagency.
With the newsagent now liquidated, Hallmark is seeking to recover the debt from the couple’s personal finances.
Mr Hyslop said they had ongoing disputes with Hallmark about unsold stock. He said a Hallmark representative had visited the store several times to collect unsold card stock.
He said the man had bundled the unsold stock in plastic bags and returned the stock to Hallmark, but made no record that this had occurred.
The couple say they were not credited for the unsold stock and disputed the bill. Hallmark engaged creditors to recover $60,000.
Mr Hyslop admitted other issues had impacted, including problems with their magazine and newspaper supplier.
“Maybe we were too young, maybe we were naive, and maybe we left ourselves open to this,” he said.
“I’m annoyed and hurt about the way it happened. It’s heartbreaking and devastating.”
But he still blamed Hallmark for the newsagent’s eventual demise.
“If I was in the wrong I wouldn’t keep fighting this.
“At the end of the day the way I see it, they’ve put me in the position that I’ve had to close my shop.”
The Bendigo Advertiser sought comment from Hallmark from Thursday morning. On Friday evening a spokeswoman said Hallmark would give a response on Monday.