The West

Use us or lose us, say bottle shop owners
Frankel St Liquor owner Russel Noble has joined other local liquor store owners who have called for the public to oppose a massive new liquor store, operated by Coles, slated for the Homemakers Centre

Bunbury's bottle shop owners fear a planned 1200sqm First Choice liquor ‘‘superstore’’ in Bunbury’s Homemaker Centre will spell the end of independent liquor stores in Bunbury.

The store, operated by retail giant Coles, will replace the Liquorland store at the centre but will be relocated to the front of the block.

Condello’s Liquor owner Nick Condello said Woolworths — which owns Dan Murphy’s — and Coles were ‘‘killing independent liquor retailers’’ across the country with big, cut-price stores.

Mr Condello called for Bunbury people to write to the director of Liquor Licensing objecting to the new First Choice store.

Its licence application is out for public comment until July 8.

‘‘If the public of Bunbury believes they are catered for with discount liquor and they don’t really need another big discount liquor store in town, that’s the point they need to make,’’ Mr Condello said.

He said if people knew their money was going to Coles and Woolworths when they shopped at superstores they ‘‘would think twice about shopping there’’.

Between Condello’s and Bunbury’s other liquor outlets he believed Bunbury was well catered for.

Mr Condello said attempts to keep local retailers viable was not helped by Bunbury City Council ‘‘greenlighting’’ both the Dan Murphy’s and First Choice stores.

‘‘There’s a lot of things the Bunbury council could do but unfortunately they don’t do it,’’ he said.

Bunbury Mayor David Smith said he appreciated the big stores would result in a loss of trade but there was little the council could do.

‘‘While I have every sympathy for existing retailers, there are limits to what we can do,’’ he said.

He said if the council was approached by Liquor Licensing it could provide feedback.

However a similar-sized First Choice store in the City of Bayswater was recently knocked back by the WA Liquor Commission following opposition from the city council and local residents.

Carey Park’s Frankel St Liquor owner Russell Noble said small businesses needed support from their customers if they were to survive.

He said Dan Murphy’s was already pricing his store out of the high-end wine and spirits market — which the store is known for — and another store could spell the end for his business.

A spokesman for Coles , which owns First Choice, said feedback from people in Bunbury suggested they wanted a bigger range of liquor, service and competitive prices.

‘‘We believe we can provide these things with a new First Choice liquor store which is why we have made this application.’’

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