Leeton locals close the door on Harvey Norman

By Patrick Avenell

The residents of Leeton, a small NSW country town, have bandied together to stop Harvey Norman from coming in and stealing business away from the local retailers. In a blueprint for how to make your town a closed shop, the council, residents and the local leagues club all were involved in this exercise protecting the local currency.

As originally reported in The Irrigator, Harvey Norman frachisees in Griffith planned on holding a market-style sale at Leeton Soldiers Club in an effort to expand their output by taking the store to the consumer.

Once news of this got around, however, the good folk of Leeton shut the door on any such unwanted competition.

Leeton Soldiers Club secretary manager Rick Boller explained to Current.com.au how they put a stop to it.

“With clubs, there is a due process to organising an event, a function, a wedding. This one was booked in, but I didn’t approve it. It all happened in the space of a few days: the board didn’t approve it.

“Also, with this sort of thing, you need council approval – a development notice,” said Boller.

But the Leeton Shire Council was hardly going to step in and fast track this approval. Boller explained that the Soldiers Club is owned by its members, nearly all of whom are Leeton locals. If they were to allow Harvey Norman to come in and make a quick buck off the residents, it would be a serious affront to Trevor Whitby, who owns the local Betta Electrical, and the local independent, Leeton Electrical Centre.

“To allow outside business to sell in Leeton would be to invite indirect competition to the local retailers,” said Boller, who also praised the 6,800 residents of the town for their dedication to shopping local.

Do you have an amusing story from your town or area? Tell me about it.

Leeton is a town of around 6,800 residents in central west NSW, 550 kilometres from Sydney. It’s famous for being the Australia’s rice capital, and is home to the SunRice headquarters. Well known former residents include Henry Lawson, Helen Wellings and former Australian cricket captain Mark Taylor.


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