News

Dimmeys Cobram closing the doors

By Cobram Courier

Dimmeys Cobram is closing its doors next Wednesday after 8 years in the town.

The closure of the Bank St discount variety store leaves five employees out of work.

Store manager Lindy Svoboda has been with the company since it came to town and believes the closure became inevitable, with the ongoing drought having an impact.

‘‘Since being here from the start, I have seen sales going up and down, up and down,’’ Ms Svoboda said.

‘‘They are now going down, down, down — so it was just a matter of time (until the store closed).

‘‘It is often the case, when farmers have no money, we have no money.’’

Ms Svoboda said it had been a difficult period for her workers who, between them, had been with the store for about a decade.

‘‘We were informed in February that we were earmarked for closure,’’ she said.

‘‘We weren’t given a date for closure straight away, which made for an anxious and stressful time.

‘‘Head office were unable to give us an answer as they were still working it out.

‘‘It’s stressful for everyone (working at the store) because none of us are old enough to retire and we have no potential employment lined up.’’

Ms Svoboda said one of the saddest parts was telling regular customers, who she felt would be impacted by the closure.

‘‘Our regular customers have been very supportive,’’ she said.

‘‘It is going to be a massive blow for the town, especially the elderly who have relied on buying a number of cheaper items from the store.

‘‘We have built up many positive relationships over the years and we have regular shoppers who even if they don’t buy something, come in and say hello.’’

The news of the closure came as Planning Panel Victoria recommended the rejection of Cobram Village’s rezoning application.

Cobram Village was proposing a new shopping precinct outside of the central business district.

If the shopping centre eventually gets the go-ahead, Ms Svoboda said could go one of two ways.

‘‘The CBD of Cobram is dying, there are so many empty shops,’’ she said.

‘‘If you bring in a shopping centre, if it ever happens, it won’t make much difference to the town.

‘‘One would hope if someone is shopping there, they would come in to town as well — it could have a terrific effect, it could have a negative effect.

‘‘Have a look at the centre of town, the shopping centre isn’t going to kill this because it’s already dying.’’

Ms Svoboda thanked the store’s loyal customers as well as her four staff.

Clearance sales are ongoing until the store is closed.