Shop closure a sign of the times

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Gommes Shoes Manjimup team members Tanisha Kammann, Rita Woodland and Coralie Potter will serve the community until the business' doors close for good.
Camera IconGommes Shoes Manjimup team members Tanisha Kammann, Rita Woodland and Coralie Potter will serve the community until the business' doors close for good. Credit: Tari Jeffers

An historic fixture of Manjimup’s business community will close its doors in the near future after about 80 years of operation.

Gommes Shoes is due to shut-up shop sometime soon and owner Les Holmes said it was disappointing, especially considering the Gommes brand had started in the town.

“It was started by Eric Gomme, his son Laurie ran this and another four or five shops for 40-odd years,” Mr Holmes said.

“He sold them to me and he still owns the building.”

Mr Holmes said Mr Gomme was a fair landlord and the rent was not the reason the store was closing.

“I have had to close six stores in the last two years, which is a sign of the times. Things like online shopping, payroll tax, cheaper well-advertised products and a weak economy have taken their toll,” Mr Holmes said.

“I still have five Gommes stores throughout WA.”

Mr Holmes thanked the community for its support and thanked and apologised to the loyal Manjimup staff who did their best.

“If I could keep the store open, I would, but in the last four years there has been a very significant decline in turnover,” he said.

In the 15 years Mr Holmes has owned the business, he said trends had not changed too much, they just circled back around.

The business will stay open as long as there are shoes to sell.

“I’m not sure when we’re closing,” he said.

“There has been an extremely strong response to the closing-down sale.”

Mr Holmes thanked the Manjimup Gommes team, including store manager Rita Woodland, who had been with the shop for many years.

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