Community store option

John Crawford.
John Crawford.
Naseby's general store has remained open to give a Naseby Vision subcommittee longer to come up with an operational structure that could prevent its planned closure.

Owners Alistair and Kay Watt were to close the store, which was struggling financially, at the end of last month, but have kept it open with the intention of closing it on the weekend of September 20.

Mrs Watt said the store could not remain open any longer due to the cost of running it.

Naseby Vision chairman John Crawford said although it seemed the store would close next weekend, that could be only temporary.

''We are gathering information and notes and we have to have something reasonably cogent to go back to the community with to see if they want to invest.

''We need a bit more time to create a business plan.''

A community ownership of the store was seen as an answer to the challenge of retaining a general store in the town.

Last weekend, Naseby Vision members visited the Millers Flat store which was the model on which Naseby Vision was basing its case for a community-owned store.

''That was very helpful. We met the staff, and learnt how they make their money and get business into their community.''

The volunteer-run group hoped to ''have something nutted out'' which it could present to potential investors in the store in the next three to four weeks, Mr Crawford said.

Attitudes towards establishing a community-owned store were still positive, he said.

In the interim, a short-term contract had been obtained to deliver mail and solutions had been found to ensure products such as newspapers and milk were available in the town.

A town meeting would be held ''at some time'', and, for the time being, the group working on a solution would meet again next week, Mr Crawford said.

During a previous meeting, members of the Naseby community had offered to invest up to $1000 in the store.

At the time of the meeting, Mr Crawford said about 80% of the people present were in support of retaining a functioning shop.

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