A RASH of business closures and stores under threat in Griffith has sparked fresh calls for shoppers to “buy local”.
In a diabolical month for local businesses, irrigation supplier Water Dynamics shut its doors last week, while electrical retailer The Good Guys is set to close its local store on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the future of Griffin Plaza video game retailer GAME remains under a cloud after its parent company fell into voluntary administration.
Griffith Business Chamber vice-president Pat Pittavino said while the local economy was sluggish across the board, the closures were a sign of the ruthless approach of “big corporations”.
“They don’t care who they hurt and the moment the bottom line starts appearing a bit shaky they leave town,” Mr Pittavino said.
“Look at Rex, they have one of the most lucrative routes in their business (Griffith to Sydney) but as soon as the Melbourne flights started losing money, they pulled out.
“The closure of these businesses won’t just affect the staff who are now out of work, but the customers who
frequent the business.”
Retravision Southern Ltd, the buying group for Griffith’s Fred Cole Retravision, was also placed into voluntary administration this week, but the local store is
expected to be unaffected.
“It’s stopped us ordering for a couple of days but we’re fine, it’s business as usual,” Fred Cole Retravision owner Ken Wells said.
He said the store was poised to join a different buying group, meaning orders and lay-bys would all be honoured.
Mr Pittavino said national chain stores run by franchisees, like Retravision and McDonalds, were far more likely to “stick around” and support the local community when times were tough.
“The important thing is the profit from these businesses stays in town, as opposed to the profit from Woolworths or Coles,” he said.
“When I left school in 1970, Leeton was a bigger town than Griffith. Griffith went ahead because people had faith in it and invested in the town, whereas in Leeton a lot of people put their money into blocks of flats on the south coast and elsewhere.”