THE grasping hand of the big supermarket chains has been blamed for the shock closure of Yoogali’s only general store.
The Yoogali Store, which has been open for more than 65 years, will officially shut up shop on October 31 after owners Greg and Anne Thompson made the heartbreaking decision to close the business.
Mr Thompson said the delay in re-opening the business after the March floods, coupled with increased competition from the supermarkets, had left him with little option.
“We were losing money while we were open and we had no choice,” Mr Thompson said.
“People in Yoogali have changed their shopping habits a lot. Most work in Griffith and they’ll just duck into the supermarket now rather than stopping at the general store.
“We can’t compete with $2 loaves of bread and milk for $1.”
He said the store’s milk order had plummetted from $5000 a week to $1400 a week in recent years, while bread sales dropped from 60 loaves a day to 20.
The store’s electricity bill had skyrocketed from $2000 a quarter 10 years ago to about $5500 a quarter now.
The community post office side of the business will remain open until October 31, he said.
“We made a lot of good friends here and we’ll really miss it,” Mr Thompson said.
“We felt like such an important part of the community and it’s sad to have to finish up.
“We’d love to think someone else will take over but we just don’t know.”
He said if Australia Post had granted the business full post office rights, it might have survived.
Yoogali resident Mal Ledwidge said the closure marked yet another service lost for the close-knit community.
“We’ve lost our servo and now our general store,” Mr Ledwidge said.
“The convenience of the store was fabulous and it’s been there a long time.
“It’s a sad day for the community.”