A Burnie business will be forced to close its doors soon, following a shock decision handed down earlier this week.
Entrepreneurs Chantelle and Jason Wilson announced on Thursday that their petrol station, antique shop and trailer hire service on Mount Street would be ceasing operations September 30.
Only days earlier, the couple were stunned when they were informed that Caltex was “pulling the plug” on the business and would no longer be leasing the land on the corner of Marine Terrace and Mount Street.
“We both woke up yesterday morning and looked at each other… and just went, wow, we have to deal with this now and come to work and still try to remain our happy-go lucky-selves,” Mrs Wilson said.
“We have ten weeks to find jobs, I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
The couple said they had been running the three-in-one business for the past five years, and had always found it hard to compete with the bigger, multi-national-owned petrol stations.
Rebecca Crack has been carefully trained by the Wilson family, who have given many Burnie youths their first job. Picture: Brodie Weeding
“It’s just a matter of the big guys squeezing the little guys out,” Mrs Wilson said.
“It’s fair enough to save a few cents… I suppose it’s a sign of the times.”
Mrs Wilson said their customers had reacted with anger and sadness, threatening to call Caltex and start petitions.
“We can’t offer 10 cents off, but you won’t find service like this anywhere else,” she said.
“We get the oldies coming here and their hands are too stiff to use the pumps. What will happen to them?
“They think that I’m leaving them, that’s the hardest part, is explaining that it’s not my decision.”
Caltas sales and marketing manager Ben Fenton said it had been sad to deliver the message to the Wilsons.
“It was a Caltex decision to divest from the site,” he said.
“We let them know as soon as possible.
“They’ve been really good, professional operators, we’d be happy to put them anywhere if another site came up.”
The Wilsons said they would welcome an opportunity to start another business with a different focus.
Extracted from The Advocate