Seville Small Business

After more than 70 years in small business Barry Entwistle was forced to close the doors of his Seville IGA. In May 2000 Barry and his wife, Jennifer Entwistle, purchased a supermarket of 1000 square metres in the small town of Seville, which has a population of 2400 people. Four years later Coles applied to Yarra Ranges Shire Council to build a supermarket, but that was rejected, with council citing the deleterious effect it would have on the small businesses in the Warburton Valley. At that time Mr Entwistle was informed by a local councillor and the mayor that as long as he provided what the community needed they saw no reason the town should have a major competitor.

In 2007 the Entwistle family borrowed $5 million to increase the size of their store, a decision based on a feasibility study that suggested that there was a $450 000 per week sales catchment within a 5-kilometre radius of the store from the 4000 people. In late 2010 an application was made to Yarra Ranges council by a developer to build a 3000-square-metre supermarket plus 18 specialty shops on a site opposite the Entwistles. While alarm bells had begun ringing, Mr Entwistle told people that he was able to compete with the Woolworths supermarket directly across the road and that he was confident he could continue.

However, that all changed in June 2014 when the council approved the inclusion of a beer, wine and spirits store at the site. Sales dropped significantly — by 18 per cent in 2014 and another 18 per cent in 2015. Employment numbers dropped to 50 over that period of time. Eventually in 2015 they were forced to close the store.