30/03/2007

Crawfordsburn village may lose only shop

The owner of the only shop and petrol station in Crawfordsburn village, County Down says he is being forced to sell up according to the Federation of Small Businesses.

FSB member John McCormick has run the Ballyrobert Road shop and service station since 1986 and it has been in the McCormick family for over 50 years.

In the past four years they have seen a drop of 60% in petrol sales and 10% in grocery sales. Mr McCormick has said this has been caused by a shift in peoples’ shopping habits, the arrival of multi-national supermarkets and the impact of a petrol price war between two of them in Bangor two years ago.

John McCormick said: “Two thirds of my customers have voted with their wallet and gone elsewhere, so I am prepared to do the same.

“There is no other option and it’s a pity. My father started the business in 1955 and I would love to hand it over to one of my children – I have four children and one of my daughters is keen to run it, but I don’t see how there will be any business left. It’s pretty grim.”

The mounting pressures of running the business are beginning to take a toll on Mr McCormick’s health and can see no other option than to sell up.

Recently Mr McCormick estimated that the business lost £1000 trading when the Roads Service closed the road outside the service station on a Sunday morning to cut hedges.

Wilfred Mitchell, FSB Policy Chairman said: “The situation Mr McCormick at Crawfordsburn Service station finds himself in is typical of the predicament many small retailers are finding themselves in and steps need to be taken to help protect and preserve similar small enterprises.”

(JM/SP)

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