Woolworths ruins this 71-year old man’s life

AFTER more than 50 years in the small business game Barry Entwistle is flat broke and busted after being “eliminated”

AFTER more than 50 years in the small business game Barry Entwistle is flat broke and busted after being “eliminated” by the retail might of Woolworths

Mr Entwistle says that the supermarket giant has left him with no choice but to shut the doors on his IGA supermarket in the Yarra Ranges, outside Melbourne.

Back in 2011, the local council approved the development of a supermarket directly across the road from his small business, and he knew then that his Seville Supa IGA store on the Warburton Highway was in for a rough ride. He remained positive about the development though, hoping that familiarity and community presence would hold him in good stead. However, the final blow came in June 2014 when the council approved the inclusion of a Beer Wine and Spirits store at the Woolworths site.


“With them getting liquor that really was our death knock,” Mr Entwistle said. “Straight away we noticed a drop in sales — while we had a loyal customer base we lost the passing trade.”

Mr Entwistle said sales went down 18 per cent in 2014 and another 18 per cent in 2015 until finally revenue could not support operation.

He had invested everything he owned into a $5 million redevelopment of the store.

The council still see the approval of the Woolies into the locality as a smart move, with Yarra Ranges Councillor Terry Avery, who was mayor when the council approved the development of the neighbouring supermarket, saying the council saw the benefit of “creating some competition”.

“You try your best to make the best decisions for the community as possible,” Mr Avery said. “I don’t think council has a right to say we should allow somebody to have a monopoly.”

He had now lost his business and his home; the once successful businessman said he had been forced to move in with family and would need to go on the pension.

However, he hopes his replacement does to to the Woolworths store what it did to him. Mr Entwistle has said that Aldi would be moving into the IGA site and he expected them to do well. An Aldi spokesman said the supermarket chain had “an interest in Seville and recognise its potential as part of our long-term expansion plans in Victoria”.

Do you think it was fair for the council to have sanctioned the Woolworths in that area?

  1. Nancy Brenton  

    Councils mostly never see further than their noses. When we’ve no more little men left someone might wake up. I hope Barry can put this behind him and enjoy the rest of his life even on a pension. Maybe not travel, if that’s what he intended to do, but little trips and the friends he’s made over the years will get him through I’m sure.

  2. If council shouldn’t be supporting a monopoly, then why did they let Woolworths in? They’re close enough to a monopoly that it doesn’t matter.

  3. Jennifer Taylor  

    Most councillors have never been business people nor employed anybody.
    Most of them have no idea nor do they care about small businesses.

  4. billy mitchell  

    money has to change hands under the table for these developments that go up..it is the (look after myself and I’m alright with this,and bugger the small guy in the corner store)The ACCC really need to look into these big stores and the monopoly they have and how they squeeze out the small guy, and there has to be some type of corruption committed in these deals , we all know how Joe collected brown paper bags for certain deals

    • heidi gomez  

      Agree wholeheartedly Billy. It’s absolutely disgraceful. Maybe Aldi can give him job. I wish him well.

  5. Noel Baxendell  

    Woolies is continually expanding. Consumers, through their shopping habits, support this and the lower prices which it brings. We need to look beyond council building approvals to find an answer to the shopping duopoly. Just one suggestion would be to outlaw self-service checkouts which destroy jobs – and the independents cannot match the technology and the cheaper prices that go with automation.

  6. Teresa Brown  

    Obviously the locals have supported Woolworths or it wouldn’t have happened, Aldi is tipped to take over his store now so Woolworths will have the competition then.

  7. Royce R. Baucke  

    Going on the pension is not such a bad thing – you do learn to simplify your lifestyle and have to forego some of the things you enjoyed when times were good. My wife and I manage and at least are grateful we do get the pension – we just enjoy doing things in a different way now. Good luck Mr Entwislte – you will be ok.

    • Carmen  

      I have personally known Mr Entwhistle all my 42 years of my life. He is one of my fathers best friends. A great family man and when most of his friends retired in their 60’s he was still working as hard as ever, trying to keep his long generation of family industry business alive. He is very generous amd loving. For him to end up with nothing after work so so hard, makes my heart break. We love you Barry hold your head high. X Carmen

    • Jenny  

      Grateful ??? Grateful is for slackers that have not planned not someone who has worked so hard and given to the same community all these years. Being on the pension is bad I see a lot forgoing food heat and lights $400 a week you get Zip Pensioners in ICU because they live on tomato soups and baked beans Salt takes kidneys out malnourished. We work so hard THIS should not happen.. I say PUBLISH the councillor faces so we can boycott THEIR Businesses I am making it my business now to find out WHO. THE COMMUNITY NEEDS TO KNOW WHO IS NOT WATCHING OUT FOR US

  8. Elke  

    Unfortunately it happens to most of us – the textile industry, the car industry, the farmers and if you are not in business and have a beaut holiday spot, the government takes that away too, to turn it into a national park (Summerlands, Phillip Island) or make room for a Freeway. It is painful – all in the name of progress 🙁

  9. Bert  

    He should have tried to specialise in something or had something unique n he shouldn’t have invested money into the premises, it can be outdated but clean n tidy n u will still get clientele.

    • Tim Murfin  

      Its either free competition or protectionism –and we all know which produces lower prices
      Its tough but been there done that on both sides of the equation I just changed track and actually improved my position
      Thats the real world

  10. Jo Hoffmann  

    Personally, l think Woolworths deserve to be brought down by Aldi – the milk saga finished me with them. IGA and Foodland best l believe. Hope you are doing ok Barry.

    • Andrew Charles  

      The milk saga had nothing to do with supermarket milk prices. Murray Goulburn had been offering farmers the highest prices, but cut them to the lowest because of global milk solids prices, not price pressure from super markets. Other milk processors less exposed to the milk solids market continue to offer higher prices to farmers and supply store brand milk, but they don’t have Murray Goulburn’s capacity.

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