Businesses in Polmont are appealing for support from the local community following the closure of a supermarket which has affected trade.
Locally-owned firms say footfall to their shops has decreased since the Co-op at Polmont shopping centre shut in June.
The Gingerbread Cafe, which had been there for two years, will close tomorrow (Friday), as a direct result of a lack of customers since the supermarket moved out leaving just three units – William Holleran & Son Butchers, JS Barbers and Four In One takeaway – out of six now occupied.
The other two empty units are Scotbet the bookmakers, which closed around three years ago and Loves the newsagent which shut down last month after years of trading at the location.
Aldi is to take over the former Co-op space but will not open until next year some time, which is a source of serious concern for local business owners.
Jackie Gardiner, who owns JS Barbers, said: “Since the Co-op shut there has been a noticeable drop in the amount of people coming to this part of town to shop so it’s really worrying. Aldi will not open any time in the next six months so it this could continue which could have a serious impact on the business that are left. We need the support of the local community in the meantime.”
Ian Holleran of the butchers said: “We are all struggling a bit just now and it’s going to be a difficult 10 or so months for everyone. We need to bring more people into our area for shopping and local support would be great.”
Mrs Gardiner also has concerns over part of Aldi’s planning application, which has yet to be passed, to move the main customer entrance to other end of the store away from where the shops are.
She said: “I don’t understand why they want to do this, it would take customers away from the shops to the other. There are people who will object to the planning application on this basis.
“There is enough room for everyone to co-exist so I would ask Aldi to reconsider this part of their planning application.”
Aldi did not respond for comment at the time of going to press. A company spokesman said it will “reply in due course”.
A spokesman for Falkirk Council said it cannot comment on live planning applications.
The owners of the Gingerbread Cafe is inviting the community in tomorrow on its last day of trading. Councillor Malcolm Nicol is also urging the local community to support the remaining businesses.