Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Independent shopkeepers fear losing trade

GORING’s independent retailers say Tesco’s arrival could put them out of business.

GORING’s independent retailers say Tesco’s arrival could put them out of business.

They fear the new Express store in the village will draw their trade away.

Jack Patel, who has run Westholme Stores in Wallingford Road for 28 years, said: “I can’t understand how the planners allowed it when there was so much objection.

“The county council’s highways officers opposed me having a fish and chip van on my forecourt because I’m near a ‘dangerous’ junction [with Mountfield] but it’s far less busy here. There’s no consistency.

“It’s worrying because I’ve worked so hard to build up goodwill in the village over the years. You always hope to sell your business when you retire but that could become much harder.

“There are only so many people in the village and their spend would be spread more thinly.

“ Customers say they’ll stay loyal and I hope they do but Tesco can buy goods at lower prices. I can’t compete with that.”

Nigel Levy, who runs Goring Village Butchers in High Street, said: “It could threaten our livelihoods. People have told me they would use Tesco for some items but have promised to continue buying their meat here.

“It will fill a gap in the market because a lot of people drive to the Co-operative in Woodcote to get their groceries in the evenings. I imagine it’ll also be popular with commuters using the station.

“I certainly hope our customers will support us. Everyone is proud of all the independent traders we have here — it’s part of our identity and it’s what visitors like about Goring.” 

Stuart Pierrepont, who runs The Goring Grocer in High Street with his wife Caroline, said: “It doesn’t threaten us as we’re catering for a different market but I’m not overly happy about Tesco being here.

“I’m sure it would be well-used but it’s the first step in making us another ‘clone town’.

“A town or village becomes less attractive if it’s just the same as everywhere else.”

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