Gbah SPAR owners say farewell as doors close permanently
"A PART of our community" is the motto of SPAR Goonellabah, but after a long struggle in the volatile grocery industry, owners Ron Dowse and wife Kerri Grant must say farewell.
"We'd like to thank the locals," Mrs Grant said.
"We'd love to continue but times are just too tight and we just can't keep going ... there's no margins in groceries anymore."
The family moved in to run the IGA at East Point Shopping Centre on Ballina Rd three-and-a-half years ago, but after a couple of years they changed to a SPAR supermarket.
Mrs Grant said the big supermarkets opening up nearby had made it all that more difficult to make ends meet.
"Unfortunately because of Coles and Woolworths and Aldi opening up here in Goonellabah, along with the rent, we were unable to keep going," she said.
"I'm worried about all the staff ... I've got terrific staff.
"I recommended some of our staff to local businesses and some of them have already received offers."
When the family took over the IGA in 2012 the deli section only offered hot chickens, but over the years fresh and hot food became their speciality.
Mrs Grant said she was disappointed to close down when that was continually expanding.
"The first thing we did was offer chicken and chips so we put one fryer in and that wasn't enough, so we put a second fryer in," she said.
"Gluten-free was another thing we were specialising in and that was just increasing.
"We had people from Kyogle who used to come here just to get all gluten-free products."
She said it was hard to make the announcement, particularly when the family had grown so fond of their customers.
"We've had beautiful customers who have supported us and we love dearly. We've shared a few tears today," she said.
Mr Dowse and Mrs Grant's daughter, Tammi, played a large role in the business with her bubbly spirit and enthusiasm when speaking with customers.
Mrs Grant was pleased to say Tammi had received a couple of job offers.
At this stage Mr Dowse and Mrs Grant have not confirmed their official closing day.
They said there were plenty of cheap goodies to grab this week, from grocery lines to frozen dairy lines.