Store owner's closure fear
'Tesco will hit us hard'
THE owners of a convenience store used by the public for 20 years fear their business could be destroyed when Tesco Express opens its latest outlet.
Londis store in Clarence Road, Clewer, has been owned and managed by Dipak and Dina Gandecha for 20 years, but they believe it is inevitable they will have to close down when the supermarket giant moves opposite.
Tesco bought and boarded up The Three Elms pub in April and work is ongoing to transform it into a Tesco Express, expected to open by the end of the year.
Mr Gandecha, 52, said: "They will sell everything that I sell and they will be able to do it cheaper. We will see how it goes, but it is already tough times for small shopkeepers. We are not happy about it and we believe we will have to shut up shop.
"I have a mortgage and we have two children going through university which is obviously expensive. We will have to find new jobs if the worst happens."
Tesco already has a superstore one mile away in Dedworth Road and Paul Reading, who owns the Royal Thai Supermarket next to Londis, has sympathy for the Gandechas.
Mr Reading, 51, who opened his specialist Thai store 18 months ago and has lived in Dedworth all his life, believes the large chain shops are killing off community spirit.
He said: "This used to be a lovely place with a butchers and a bakers, but they are both gone now. I don't believe the new Tesco will harm my business because I do quite speciality food which they won't be selling, but I feel for Dipak because I don't believe he has a chance."
But not everyone is against the new Tesco Express store. Resident Mark Hennings, from Dedworth Road, said: "I'm glad to see the pub closed because it did cause some trouble and a new store will add to the choice."
Tesco believes the added footfall will benefit neighbouring shops. Simon Petar, a spokesman for Tesco, said: "Our Express stores are very popular with customers and play an important role in the local community."