Supermarket threat? Mixed view among Sunderland’s shop owners

Fishmonger Bob Barber in his shop in Sea Road, Fulwell

Fishmonger Bob Barber in his shop in Sea Road, Fulwell

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THE common view is that big retailers harm small independent retailers, but when we asked Sunderland’s shop owners they had a mixed view.

Tony Gelder, owner of Gelders Bakery, based in Riverside Road, Southwick, said the booming supermarket trade isn’t affecting business at all.

Wayne Monk, Hilary Monk and Tony Gelder

Wayne Monk, Hilary Monk and Tony Gelder

“We have had a 20 per cent increase on sales in the last two months – we are doing really well at the minute.

“I’m not worried because I think people know where to get quality products from, and ours are doing well in the supermarkets, but especially well in the smaller shops.

Max Muller, owner of Muller Swiss Baker’s, in Villette Road, Hendon, said the increase in the amount of supermarkets is having an effect on trade.

“I haven’t noticed a significant change since the new Sainsbury’s opened, but in the bigger scheme of things, because of the number of them, we are feeling the pinch.

Family Firm: Bakers Max Muller and his wife Gianna with their sons Max (left) and Bruno outside their Villette Road shop.

Family Firm: Bakers Max Muller and his wife Gianna with their sons Max (left) and Bruno outside their Villette Road shop.

“I think there are too many open already. It’s killing off local shopping areas, and I think what people don’t realise is that they can get things for the same price in small shops as they can in the supermarkets, and they get a fresher product.”

Bob Barber, owns Diamond Fisheries, Sea Road, Fulwell, and said the supermarkets are squeezing his business.

“It’s killing us dead,” he said. “I just don’t know what will happen when the new Tesco opens, and I’ve noticed a big difference since Sainsbury’s opened.

“I’m self employed and I can’t afford to employ staff, so I work all the hours God sends just to pay the rent.”

Owner of Robsons of Sunderland butchers, St Luke’s Terrace, Pallion, Andrew Butler, believes it is not the supermarkets that are hindering trade, but the general economic downturn.

“To be honest, the supermarkets don’t really affect me, it’s just quiet all over,” he said.

“But we have seen a rise in sales since the horse meat scandal in the sales of burgers and sausages. But I don’t think I can put being quiet down to the supermarkets.”