Woolworths, Pioneer will shut its doors this Sunday June 18, leaving this low socio-economic suburb with few options for fresh food and groceries.
Co-owner and manager of Pioneer shopping centre Joel Pate says the building is now up for lease.
“We’re talking to some other companies but if anyone wants to lease it, give me a call, I’ll give you a good deal.”
In the meantime Mr Pate will turn The Smoking Gun into a makeshift corner store from Monday, selling basic necessities alongside its famous burgers.
“We’re going to be selling Cloncurry bread and eggs and milk, basic necessities for people,” he said.
I don’t know why they’re closing because so many people go in there, and they’re still going in now with half the shop empty.Jon James, Shut Up & Cut
“If we get enough community support we can hopefully expand and see what happens.
Mr Pate said it was a very disappointing move from Woolworths.
“It’s a very big blow to the community,” Mr Pate said.
Neighbouring leasee Jon James of Shut Up & Cut was also lamenting the closure, but was unconcerned for his salon.
“It’s going to affect me personally rather than business-wise, because I go there all the time.
“I don’t know why they’re closing because so many people go in there, and they’re still going in now with half the shop empty.”
“It’s a bit daunting. I’m worried it might make the area back to what it was with gangs and fights and loitering, with not many people here and no security.
“It’s been here since the 80s and it’s part of Mount Isa, so it’s a sad day,” Mr James said.
Mr Pate would like to see another supermarket take up the lease after Woolworths.
“Jacks was open since 1981 or something, so it would be great to have another supermarket, especially for the local community who don’t have cars.”
Mr Pate said the company gave him no reason for leaving, but they have announced closures nationwide and have already closed two stores in Townsville.
He agreed with MP Robbie Katter’s comments on the decision being ‘typical’ of the attitude of big national retailers.
"It’s typical big corporation head office politics.”
In a short statement a Woolworths spokesperson said all 58 team members would transition from Abel Smith Parade to the store on Camooweal Street.