West Cumbrian garage admits defeat in fuel war with Asda
Last updated at 12:04, Friday, 05 October 2012
A Flimby petrol station will close at the end of the month after 77 years in business, with the loss of three jobs.
Long and Small Garage, on the A596, claims it can no longer compete with the nearby Asda superstore.
Jim Nelson, owner, said: “For the past 18 consecutive weeks I have not been able to buy fuel for the price Asda is selling it.
“It is just not economical. We will keep the car sales and car repairs, MOTs and services, and hope to do more in the tyre business.
“Closing the shop and petrol pumps is something I never thought we would do.”
Mr Nelson said he battled during the floods when the bridges were down and the A596 was almost deserted.
“We saw business drop by about 50 per cent but I hung on. Once the road opened I couldn’t believe how busy we were again but then Asda came and we can’t compete.
“I would say petrol sales are down 40 per cent, which means it is no longer possible to keep going.”
He said he understood why people had chosen to go to where fuel was cheaper and thanked the customers who had been loyal to him throughout.
Long and Small used to be one of the major visitor attractions in the district.
The original business, established in 1935, included a petrol station, car salesroom, cafe, ice cream parlour and dance hall on the first floor.
At the back were swing boats and other fair rides, as well as some wild animals, including monkeys.
It was popular with thousands of people from all over West Cumbria who flocked to the Flimby beach and enjoyed the facilities offered.
Mr Nelson said: “In those days there were deckchairs on the beach and even a model railway.”
The complex was built by a Mr Stackman, who named it Long and Small.
“I am not sure where the name came from but I know everyone used to call it Stackies,” said Mr Nelson.
When the dance hall closed in the late 1950s and the business was bought by the late Norman Watson, he used the dance area as a car showroom.
Mr Nelson added: “He had this large lift at the end of the building which used to deliver the cars up to the dance hall.”
The next owners, from 1972, were John and Ann Over, of Aspatria.
Mr Nelson bought the business in October 1985 and said he had enjoyed every minute.
He added: “That is why it is so disappointing to have to close the filling station.
“I am particularly upset about the job losses because the girls who worked in the shop have been very loyal and I need to thank them for all they have done.”
Mr Nelson said his closing date was flexible.
He added: “If I run out of fuel I will not order another lot. If I still have some at the end of the month I will continue to sell it until the pumps are empty.”
An Asda spokesman said: “When Asda comes to town our aim is to save people money, not make life difficult for local traders.
“We aim to keep our petrol pricing simple and we don’t use petrol as a loss leader.”
First published at 11:51, Friday, 05 October 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
Have your say
Bloody shame. Another one of Flimby's retailer's gone. What next, Flimby paper shop? Both have been there many year's.
It was bound to happen eventually. Jimmy has kept on keeping on for many years now, even before Asda. So it's true that the supermarkets kill the smaller trader. I agree,Just think if Workington had got a new Tesco, more shops in the town centre would have shut and traders would have been scared to take on a lease with Tesco coming. It's the way of the world - as long as Allerdale council receives more and more money in rates and rent, no planning applications will ever be refused.
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