The regional NSW town of Singleton is without an electrical retailer after the local branch of Betta Electrical closed at the end of July, unable to continue trading in town hurting from the mining downturn.
Owner of the Singleton store, Guy Nichols — who also owns of Muswellbrook Betta Electrical and Scone Betta Electrical — made the decision a few months ago not to renew the three year lease on the store.
“The whole upper Hunter has been affected big time by the mining downturn,” Nichols told Appliance Retailer.
“Two years ago you couldn’t buy a house in Singleton, you couldn’t rent a house in Singleton. The place was booming.”
Nichols said things had been tough for 18 to 24 months, but economic conditions have gotten even tougher in the last six months with the drop of coal prices and the closure of two mines in the area.
“Half the town has been laid off and the other half is in fear of possibly being laid off.”
The mine closures has had a flow on affect to the other industries in the town, affecting the turnover of pubs, car dealerships and housing prices.
“Money just stopped circulating, so basically our lease was up and we weren’t prepared to sign a three year lease down there so we have consolidated back to our Muswellbrook and Scone stores, further up the valley.
“It was batten down the hatches; consolidate back to our other two stores.”
In 2007 Nichols and his wife Tanya were awarded the Betta Electrical Retailer of the Year award for their leadership of the three stores.
The staff at the Singleton store had to be laid off. However Nichols was hopeful that is possible to reopen the Singleton store if things pick up. Although he expects it will take another three years for the town to recover from the hit it has taken from the mine closures and retrenchments.