Sun Valley IGA forced to change trading hours

ONCE bustling with earlybird shoppers and weary nightshift workers, Drakes IGA in Sun Valley will paint a different picture at 7am.

Its weekly trading has been slashed by nine hours by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The commission said the decision had been made "on the basis of a submission from interested parties".

The commission would not provide further comment regarding the source of the submission.

Trading times at other local IGAs in Calliope and Toolooa remain unaffected, according to the store supervisors at both locations.

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's office said the stores would be classified differently, depending on the number of customers and employees in the store at any given time.

Those businesses that employ fewer than 20 individuals are considered independent retail shops and are subject to different regulations.

The Sun Valley store, with nine checkouts, pales in comparison to supermarket giants Woolworths and Coles, each with 17 checkouts.

IGA also does not use automated checkout facilities.

Sun Valley store manager Amanda Kubiak said the move was a setback, but would ultimately encourage free enterprise.

"I suppose it puts us all on an even playing field," she said.

"We will just keep delivering better customer service and premium products to keep our customers happy and ensure they keep coming back."

Gladstone resident and nightshift worker Mindii Collins said she would be forced to alter her shopping habits of nine years.

"I drive past Coles and Woolworths to travel further to IGA Sun Valley because they are open early.

"If they open at the standard time it's no point driving across town anymore," she said.

"I would get my crib and drinks from there on my way to work on my early dayshift starts and when I finish nightshifts, I would do my grocery shopping on my way home."

Ms Collins said contrary to the Attorney-General's belief the changes were fair and independent, it was encouraging business to go elsewhere.

"I've been told that Drakes (IGA) in Toolooa open really early so I'm just going to go there from now on. It's more convenient for me," she said.

"I'm surprised; Gladstone being an industrial town with so many shiftworkers.

"If IGA Sun Valley can't cater for them I think they are going to lose their shift worker customers no doubt, and Drakes (IGA) Toolooa might have to hire more staff. I can see them getting real busy.

"It's a shame."



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