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'It's a shame it's come to this'

END OF AN ERA: Neil Fitzpatrick, owner of Murphy's Convenience Store, will be closing the doors on his store next Wednesday for the last time after 23 years. INSET: The sign out the front of the Caledonian Hill store.
END OF AN ERA: Neil Fitzpatrick, owner of Murphy's Convenience Store, will be closing the doors on his store next Wednesday for the last time after 23 years. INSET: The sign out the front of the Caledonian Hill store. Donna Jones

NEIL Fitzpatrick is disappointed.

"Wouldn't you be?” he said.

The owner and operator of Murphy's convenience store is heart-broken the shop he has dedicated his life to for the past 23 years will close its doors for the last time on Wednesday.

"I've worked hard all my life. It's a shame it's come to this,” he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick thinks Murphy's is a victim of seven-day-trading and increasing running costs.

"I'm working for nothing now. There have been increases in cigarettes of 300 per cent, increases in power of 300 per cent and before Christmas the big supermarkets were open until 11pm. Aren't there enough hours in the day? What chance has the little guy got? It's all too late when it's all gone,” he said.

Murphy's Convenience Store has had a shop front in one form or another for about 118 years.
Murphy's Convenience Store has had a shop front in one form or another for about 118 years. Donna Jones

Murphy's has been a store of some sort for about 118 years with Mr Fitzpatrick believing it was established as a seamstress' shop around the turn of the 20th century and becoming a convenience store around 1914. He is understandably angry at the decisions being made by those in power, without, he says, consideration of the people and businesses those changes effect.

"They keep changing people's lifestyle but who benefits? It's not going to benefit anyone,” he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick has two employees with one securing a new job recently, but the other, like himself, is unemployed as of next week.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my loyal staff and of course all the people who were patrons over the years,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

During the course of the interview, a number of those patrons, some who visit the shop almost daily, expressed their disappointment that the store is closing.

Neil Fitzpatrick, owner of Murphy's Convenience Store, will be closing the doors on the store next Wednesday for the last time after 23 years.
Neil Fitzpatrick, owner of Murphy's Convenience Store, will be closing the doors on the store next Wednesday for the last time after 23 years. Donna Jones

"I'm going to miss you very much,” Isabelle Rushton, who visits the store at least once a week, told Mr Fitzpatrick.

Jemma Daniels, who pops in a couple of times a week echoed her sentiments.

"We're going to miss you,” she said.

"I'll have to find another little store. I won't go to the supermarket. You stand in a queue for half-an-hour. It's good here, you're in and out,” she said.

Ashley Hayward pops into the store daily.

"It's terrible (the store is closing). It's handy. I come in about once a day. With three kids I don't like going to the big stops.

"This is walking distance from home. I don't have to load up the kids, and unload them all and drag them around with me if I just need a few things. I don't blame him (Mr Fitzpatrick for closing the store), with the cost of everything today,” she said.

Now that Murphy's is closing, she said she'll have to go down to the Crescent Rd store.

"I avoid the supermarkets,” she said.

"They don't deserve my business.”

Topics:  business closes convenience store gympie business seven day trading

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