NEW FUTURE: The Goondiwindi Co-operative had been servicing the region for over 70 years before closure.
NEW FUTURE: The Goondiwindi Co-operative had been servicing the region for over 70 years before closure.

SOLD: Historical co-operative bought for $2.1m

AFTER going into liquidation, due to coronavirus and drought, a Downs co-operative has been purchased for $21m, with plans to get the store functioning again within weeks.

The Goondiwindi co-operative, on Herbert St, had been a part of the community since 1947, but in April this year, announced the store would be folding after "insurmountable debt" piled up and coronavirus panic supply and demand left shelves empty.

The winning bidder Mr John Nyugen is on the Board of Directors for Australian United Retailers Limited and has owned several regional Foodworks including Miles, Chinchilla,Canungra. and Woodridge.

According to Helm Advisory, Mr Nyugen plans to keep the store running as a Foodworks, or as an IGA.

Goondiwindi mayor Lawrence Springborg welcomed the "quick move"in the hopes it would provide welcome competition to the only other grocery store in town, Coles.

"When the co-op went in administration, thecommunity was devastated - there was a real hole-but now there's a sense of relief," Cr Springborg said. 

"It is critically important that people get competition and choice. That diversity in choice is  very important." 

Cr Springborg was also pleased jobs would remain within  the region, according to the administrator's statement. 

"Jobs have created certainty for the community," he said.

"Our greatest concern was that this could drag on for months and months." 

Mr Nyugen would be looking for a local operator for the store, and hoped to get it commercially allowable by late July.

"While it might be the closing of one chapter of the local Co-op that was set up to benefit its local members, the administrators believe that the sale should guarantee a strong regional retailer that engages with the town, and benefits local suppliers and its customers," the Helm Advisory statement read.

"It is trusted that local jobs will be retained."