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IGA owner fears for Yarralumla shops if rival liquor store goes ahead next door

Ian Bushnell 9 May 2019 36

Yvonne Dourdoulakis outside the premises next door to the IGA Supermarket, where a Jim Murphy Cellars liquor store is planned. Photos: George Tsostsos.

Jim Murphy Cellars’ bid to open a liquor store at the Yarralumla Shops is hard to swallow for IGA/Local Liquor Supermarket owner Yvonne Dourdoulakis, not just because she will have a rival next door but because she fears for the future of the struggling suburban shopping centre.

Jim Murphy Cellars has applied to ACT Liquor for an off premises liquor licence for 25 Bentham Street, which used to house the post office until it closed in March. It plans to operate every day from 7 am to 11 pm.

Ms Dourdoulakis, who with her husband has run the IGA since 2004, says if the licence was granted it could see the beginning of the end for the Yarralumla Shops, which has seen a number of businesses close in recent times and needs new ventures to complement the ones already there.

“I obviously don’t want a liquor store next to me but I’m looking at the big picture of what makes local shopping centres survive,” said the businesswoman, who also owns with her siblings many of the properties at the Ainslie Shops.

“We are firm believers that the shops within shopping centres need to complement each other, not fight against each other, that’s when you get closures. They’re meant to be businesses that work well together.”

She says local residents and other businesses also don’t want another liquor store there but would prefer something like a bakery, which the centre lost a couple of years ago.

They are also concerned about the impact a liquor store opening until late at night will have on crime and behaviour in the community, which already has a high rate of break-ins and robberies.

As well as the Local Liquor outlet, there are already three on-premises liquor licences at restaurants in the centre, and another liquor store would be too many.

“How many liquor licences do you really need in one centre?” Ms Dourdoulakis said. “It’s a very small shopping centre.”

The Yarralumla IGA includes a large Local Liquor outlet.

She had told the owner of the premises that she would be willing to take the lease and sub-let it to a business to ensure a right fit for the shops but he was confident of being granted the licence.

“I know a number of submissions, by residents and other businesses owners, have been sent to ACT Liquor opposing the granting of the liquor license, but I’m also afraid they may not be taken into full consideration before a decision is made,” Ms Dourdoulakis said.

Yarralumla Residents Association president Mike Lewis said the community organisation did not have a position on the application but members had lodged objections as individuals.

The Association had been concerned for some time at the number of empty premises at the shops and Mr Lewis said the Government should consider penalties for landlords sitting on tenancies, similar to those used to deter land banking.

Ms Dourdoulakis operated the post office business for eight years before selling it in 2014, and has just completed a $100,000 refurbishment to take it back to serve the Yarralumla community.

“It was a headache I didn’t really want but it needed to be done,” she said.

She feared there would be more shops closing in Yarralumla. “To see local shopping centres falling apart is quite a sad thing,” she said.

The key issues contributing to their decline were high commercial rates and rents. Some landowners were also happy to leave premises empty if they could not achieve the rents they wanted.

The consultation period for the application closes on 15 May. For more information go here.

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36 Responses to IGA owner fears for Yarralumla shops if rival liquor store goes ahead next door
Jp Romano Jp Romano 10:19 am 12 May 19

Listen to all these anti capitalists. Business is business, if a business sees potential to make money then let them try!

Anna Reiner Anna Reiner 7:16 am 11 May 19

They would all get more customers if there was somewhere to park ...

Amber Jarrett Amber Jarrett 5:04 am 11 May 19

IGA- update your bakery section if that is a need of the community. Pretty obvious business opportunity.

    Lucian Burca Lucian Burca 10:48 pm 11 May 19

    Pfff, pretty hard to keep everyone happy around there, as there is so much room the shop has (pretty small local supermarket, if you visit it). I've done some work there, and Yvonne is really trying hard to keep the community happy as they recently made arrangements to keep the local post office alive, instead of caring just for her business and let the Yarralumla community without postal services within their local shops. Please visit them and check what's going on over there please.

Amber Jarrett Amber Jarrett 5:00 am 11 May 19

A kebab and nice beer will be a great combo👌

Bronwyn Clarke Bronwyn Clarke 11:02 pm 10 May 19

The IGA offers a great range of food. I'd prefer it to stay than to see it gone because of a liquor store.

Ainge Sakthivel Ainge Sakthivel 9:55 pm 10 May 19

they need to expand the kebab shop. That's what everyone outside yarralumla comes for. Best kebabs in Canberra

Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 8:59 pm 10 May 19

The IGA has a great deli and grocery selection. Their fresh food offering is pretty poor. But overall they should be able to withstand some competition.

Murray Emerton Murray Emerton 8:47 pm 10 May 19

Competition! Get over it

    Narrelle Kelly Narrelle Kelly 9:18 pm 10 May 19

    Murray Emerton exactly- let the best man win- we poor work slaves have to do it why is it different for small businesses

    Lucian Burca Lucian Burca 10:57 pm 11 May 19

    Yep, smart move, take out IGA and replace it with liquor shop, I bet everyone is going to be happy in the area, having to travel more for groceries, and just across the corner for booze... great ideas, let's make Australia great again!!!

    Mat Farrington Mat Farrington 11:00 am 13 May 19

    Campbell Liquor Discounts had an IGA open nextdoor. The IGA won. The liquor store couldn't compete. I fancy the IGA's chances.

Andrew Brien Andrew Brien 5:45 pm 10 May 19

well done Jim Murphys, great family business. hope you succeed in this venture.

Sharon Hunter Sharon Hunter 3:41 pm 10 May 19

What happened to the bakery?

    Scott Humphries Scott Humphries 8:57 pm 10 May 19

    Closed a few years ago due to rent increases. Also the newsagency and Thai restaurant.

    Sharon Hunter Sharon Hunter 9:06 pm 10 May 19

    Scott Humphries


    Thank you

Michael Groenhout Michael Groenhout 1:56 pm 10 May 19

IGA have great liquor purchasing power. Look at your margins and remain competitive

Widya Santoso Widya Santoso 12:16 pm 10 May 19

There's already a second liquor shop down the road, near the library, and one further up, at the Kingston hotel.

Anohs Llihpmeh Anohs Llihpmeh 11:45 am 10 May 19

It is a lovely suburban shopping centre, why ruin it by putting in a large chain store. The owners there priced the bakery out, they have no idea. I worked as a commercial leasing secretary 20 years ago and found many commercial landlords/leasing agents so predatory that they ultimately put tenants out of business, all they care about is the money they get out of the very binding commercial lease, people lose their livelihoods (sometimes their personal assets too) and communities lose the place they meet, eat, greet. No social responsibility towards the very people and communities that rent and use the place.

    Peter Bell Peter Bell 12:50 pm 10 May 19

    Anohs Llihpmeh well said

    Brandon Primrose Brandon Primrose 1:34 pm 10 May 19

    Anohs Llihpmeh Jim Murphy’s isn’t a chain store - you may be thinking of dan murphys

    Jack Hearps Jack Hearps 5:06 pm 10 May 19

    Anohs Llihpmeh thats very very interesting as i did a small business diploma after my MBA and looked at leasing costs in several regional towns and found exactly what you stated ... in effect some towns charged leasing rates equivalent of CBD ... in fact the major reason small businesses failed was this cost which was up to 65% above the reasonable level ... often premises were too small to facilitate the businesses potential cafe restuarants that could only seat 10. Also in regional cities 85% commercial real estate is owned by only a few families ... so a monopoly game of over charging and too much influence on local council developments etc.

    Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 8:13 pm 10 May 19

    Anohs, Jim Murphy’s is a local family owned business. The IGA “chain store” owner is the one complaining (about potential local competition).

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