Co-op is sold and owner hopes to re-open doors by July

Co-op is sold and owner hopes to re-open doors by July

Administrators for the Goondiwindi Co-op have announced it has been sold and that it will re-open.

"Operating since 1947 in the centre of town, it was well patronised by locals, but had unfortunately fallen on difficult times," a press release today said.

Helm Advisory's Stephen Hathway and Philip Hosking became came voluntary

administrators on April 14.

The sale of the store in Herbert Street including land and buildings for an amount of $2.1million will go

towards clearing the Co-op's obligations.

The Co-op also owns an adjacent car park and house which will be subject to a proposed Deed of Company Arrangement. The winning bidder is Mr John Nguyen, who is also on the Board of Directors for Australian United Retailers Limited, is an experienced QLD regional food retailer.

The Nguyen family has been engaged in regional retail operations since opening their first FoodWorks in 1996 in regional Miles, Queensland. He also owned regional Queensland stores in Chinchilla and Canungra. John and his family now operate FoodWorks stores in Queensland at Miles, Woodridge, and Bupengary. He is looking to add Loganholme FoodWorks to his portfolio.

John is looking for a local operator and will be running the Goondiwindi store either as a FoodWorks or IGA, as early as commercially allowable and certainly by late July 2020.

"The Nguyen family also holds a fruit and vegetable operator's licence at Rocklea markets in Brisbane which translates to gaining the best prices for its customers. They strongly believe in sourcing product from local suppliers of which they have a proud record in regional Queensland," the release said.

While it might be the closing of one chapter of the local Co-op that was set up to benefit its local members, the administrators believe that the sale should guarantee a strong regional retailer that engages with the town, and benefits local suppliers and its customers. It is trusted that local jobs will be retained.

The administrators thanked the support given by the Goondiwindi Regional Council and local solicitor ,Mr Andrew Doyle of Doyle Wilson Solicitors, for assisting in the sale during the challenging environment caused by Covid-19.

It's welcome news according to GRC Mayor, Cr Lawrence Springborg.

Goondiwindi is a known regional hub servicing more than 20,000 people from within the region and beyond, but was left with only one choice of supermarket after the Goondiwindi Co-Operative went into voluntary administration in April 2020.

Cr Springborg said the announcement would ensure that the marketplace for groceries in Goondiwindi remains open and competitive.

"I'm very glad to hear today's news and to know that shoppers in Goondiwindi willAnchor continue to be able to choose where to spend when it comes to groceries and everyday household items," Cr Springborg said.

"It's been terribly unfortunate to see the Co-Op go after so many years in the town," the Mayor said. "However, now we need to focus on securing jobs and ensuring choice for consumers going forward."

Goondiwindi Regional Council has been a strong advocate for the need of a town of this size to have an alternative service provider since the announcement of the Co-Operative's closure. Council also promotes the region to potential buyers and investors as part of its economic development role in the region.

Cr Springborg said that the Goondiwindi region presented an excellent investment opportunity and we are proud to promote this. "We welcome Mr Nguyen and his family to the Goondiwindi region," he said.