Mayor and Member for Euroa make pleas to save Benalla’s Target

By Simon Ruppert

Benalla Mayor Danny Claridge and State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan have made separate last-minute pleas to Wesfarmers to save the town's Target store.

The popular store's parent company made the call last week to close 167 of their branches before announcing that many would be re-branded as Kmart.

Sadly news followed shortly after that Target Benalla would not be one of those.

Cr Claridge said that when he heard the news he immediately penned a latter to Wesfarmers.

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“When I found out on Friday afternoon I sent a letter to the owners of Target asking them to reconsider,” Cr Claridge said.

“I got an email back saying they will get back tome today.

“So I am hoping they will at least consider keeping it.

“There are plenty of reasons to keep it open. We are one of the few regional centres showing growth. We've had an employment and a housing boom, so I believe it's not the right time to close.”

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Ms Ryan also contacted Wesfarmers asking them to re-examine their decision to close the store.

“Last week’s announcement that Target will close its Benalla store has come as a huge shock for the entire community and especially the store’s loyal employees, many of whom have been with the company for years,” Ms Ryan said.

“Target has been a major employer for the town, particularly for those just starting out in the workforce.

“It’s closure will leave a gaping hole in the town’s main shopping strip.”

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The store is not only an important employer in town, it is also one of the few of its type offering affordable clothing, particularly for children.

Cr Claridge said while some people would be in a position to travel to similar stores in Wangaratta or Shepparton, many in town did not have that option.

“We have a large proportion of disadvantaged people that might not have their own transport, and we don't have great public transport links to places like Wangaratta if someone wants to quickly nip up for an hour's shopping, for example,” Cr Claridge said.

“So I'm not going to give up on this.

“We’ll keep fighting the decision.”

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