‘DEVASTATED’: BP owner to farewell ‘community business’
UPDATE 1.05pm: OWNERS of family-owned business Wollongbar BP General Store are shell-shocked as they reluctantly prepare to close their doors next month after nearly a decade.
The shock move by the landlord to sell off the building to an unknown buyer has left owners, husband-wife team, Calvin and Jenny Conlan, their two daughters and two other employees devastated.
Mrs Conlan said the landlord has "kept them in the dark" about the future of the building since negotiations to sell the building started in February, claiming her offer to buy the property fell on deaf ears back in March.
After sustained silence from the landlord, Mrs Conlan said she broke the "devastating" news last month to her staff that shop would shut down.
Mrs Conlan said she connected the dots of the store's imminent closure when BP pulled out of the lease and the rapidly approaching lease expiration date, August 31.
"Being here for nearly 10 years so many of our customers have become like family," she said.
"All our locals are shocked as well, they can't believe it.
"We are just devastated, you have a shop for nine and a half years and then you just have to walk away from it."
Mrs Conlan said she has found other work in administration with one of her daughters planning to start her business and another employee working at a cafe in Lismore.
The job hunt continues for Mrs Conlan's other daughter and other employee.
From stocking local produce to sponsoring the junior rugby club, Alstonville show and local schools, Mrs Conlan said the family-owned business was entrenched within the community.
"We are just a little family run store and wanted to put some life and warmth back into the community and the customers that came into our little shop," she said.
MONDAY 11.35am: A MUCH-loved petrol station and general store has announced it will close its doors.
The BP General Store Wollongbar, on the corner of the Bruxner Highway and Lindendale Road, posted this message on their Facebook page this morning:
"It is with much sadness that we are CLOSING DOWN.
"Unfortunately our lease has not been renewed.
"We have valued your patronage and will miss all our customers dearly!
"We must clear all our stock so come in and grab some really good specials!
"We are only here for another 3 weeks so get in quick."