The new manager of Saddleworth’s Tesco supermarket has said he’s “sorry” if the store contributed to the closure of Julie’s Sweet Shop in Greenfield earlier this year.
Bill Davidson also used an interview with Saddleworth News to say a Tesco petrol station was “not on the agenda” at the moment because of the lack of space at the site.
Tesco finally opened on Chew Valley Road in December following years of arguing on both sides of the debate. Julie Rodgers opted to close her shop the following month after 23 years in business. She said Tesco was one factor in her decision, because it had affected the number of people visiting the centre of Greenfield.
Mr Davidson, who took over his job ten weeks ago after his predecessor was promoted, commented: “I wasn’t here when the store opened, so I didn’t get a feel for what the village was like before the opening. My first of being here I walked into the village and saw the butcher’s and all the little shops that are there.”
He added: “I can’t really comment on why the sweet shop shut down. If we were a contributing factor to that then I’m sorry about it. Wherever you put a supermarket it is going to impact somebody’s business. We’re not in the business of shutting down small shops, we’re trying to take trade away from Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons.”
Mr Davidson continued: “I think the council have done a good job protecting the local shops by not allowing us to build too big a store, and putting too big a range… My customers do say that they do like to support the local trade. I get the feeling they come in here, they buy the basics here, they buy the big shop, but then they go to the butcher’s, the produce and the other little shops to buy their bits and pieces.”
On the issue of a petrol station, Mr Davidson suggested it might be difficult to accommodate one at the Greenfield site: “We need quite a big space to put a petrol station. I think it’s more to do with the size of the plot than Tesco not wanting a petrol station.”
He added: “If we did have a petrol station I’m sure the turnover of the store would benefit, and obviously local people would not have to drive three or four miles to the local filling station.”
Mr Davidson concluded: “So at the moment it’s not on the agenda. No-one’s even intimated from Tesco that it is on the agenda. But it’s something that if I had the opportunity to say to my boss, what would really go well in Greenfield, I think a petrol filling station would be the one big thing.”
You can listen to this section of the interview by clicking below:
You can read and listen to the first part of the interview here. I’ll publish the third and final section later this week, so look out for that.
The Saddleworth News story from January about the closure of Julie’s Sweet Shop is here.
Bill is keen to hear suggestions and comments from local people, and you can reach him directly by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org