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Locals will cover retail gap: Wren

Thursday, 24th May, 2018

John Wren John Wren

By Emily Ferguson

Businessman John Wren says he’s “disgusted” about the closure of Big W, but he believes Broken Hill businesses will easily fill the gap left by the department store.

The Silver City Cinema owner said he was appalled by Big W’s decision to close the local store.

“I’m very disgusted with them, I’m bloody disgusted,” he said, adding that he felt they were making excuses.

“Fair enough we’ve heard that a few other Big Ws around the countryside have closed, but not all have closed,” he said.

“They’re using the excuse that more people are going online to buy this and buy that.

“Now I could use the same reason to say that the cinema’s closing because everybody is on Netflix, and they’re all online watching movies, but I could’ve said that twenty years ago.

“The public would not have a theatre operating the same as what we’ve got operating today if I had that frame of mind, with the video industry and everything else like that.

But I came back and I thought not only do I have to make the determination for myself but for the public of Broken Hill to provide some type of entertainment.

“I could have easily given up, but I’ve got a passion for Broken Hill.

“Big W, Woolworths should have a passion for Broken Hill, because Broken Hill has supported them in the last 40 or 50 years.”

Mr Wren blames the Woolworths Group for the closure and highly disapproves of the intentions of Big W online to provide free delivery to Broken Hill for three months.

“They’ve turned their back on Broken Hill ... what a load of crap,” he said.

“You’ve got those 80 or so staff, they’re suffering, their families are suffering, everybody is suffering and it’s disgusting.

“In my opinion, Broken Hill should run Woolworths out of town, because honestly I don’t think it’s right on their part.

“It really does make me fume on their business management decision on what they’ve come to about Broken Hill.

“Broken Hill throughout the last 130 years has had its cycles of ups and downs, increased population, decreased population, but Broken Hill, always through that cycle, came back on top again.

John believes that other local businesses around town “are smart enough to fill the gap”.

“I give Globe Timber ten out of ten points for what they’re doing,” he said.

“They’re filling a big gap. They’re doing things and selling items that Big W used to sell like paint and everything else like that.

“In my opinion Broken Hill is vibrating, it’s like a volcano, it’s on the stretch of one of the most gigantic economic booms in the last hundred years that’s gonna hit this region.

“Now is the time for our local businesses and also our local people to be positive and keep moving ahead because Broken Hill has so much to offer.

“Everybody has to do their part, everybody in business has to do their little bit to keep Broken Hill generating.

“The fact is we’re moving ahead to make sure that we’re providing a service and that’s what Woolworths should be doing out there, providing a service to the Broken Hill people that have supported them over the years. I’m just pleased to say, we’re doing our part - Big W’s not.”

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