WODONGA Plaza shoppers have been left dumb-founded by the sudden closure of one of the most well patronised businesses in the complex.
Baker’s Delight, located just inside the eastern end doors to the plaza, traded for the final time on Friday in a major shock for regular customers.
Plaza management confirmed the reasons for the closure were between long-standing franchisee, Josie West, and Baker’s Delight, which has a separate shop in the Birallee shopping centre.
“Wodonga Plaza is saddened to learn from a national franchise company, that the centre’s Baker’s Delight franchisee will be vacating the premises,” centre manager Cherie Daly said.
“This locally run business is known to many and has been a significant community contributor and Wodonga City advocate for over 15 years.
“Many have been touched by their generosity in providing sponsorships, gifts and supporting local clubs and events.
“While the circumstances of the departure are between the franchisee and the franchisor, Wodonga Plaza sincerely thanks the business for being part of our community.
“There is no question they will be well supported as they embark on their next journey.”
Ms West said on social media that the decision to shut was done with a “very heavy heart” after nearly two decades in business at the Wodonga Plaza.
“I am so grateful to all who have filled my world both inside my business and via my business,” she said.
“You have helped me grow and learn more than I had ever imagined.”
She estimates she has employed more than 400 staff and $1 million plus in product and vouchers to community groups including service clubs and sporting clubs.
Business Wodonga president Graham Jenkin also paid tribute to Ms West.
“It is very sad to see such a long-standing business no longer operating,” he said.
“A lot of young people have been trained in retail and been given jobs to earn some pocket money to go towards buying their first car.”
Outside of work, Ms West is a committee member of the Wodonga Bulldogs Football-Netball Club.
Other plaza business owners also expressed surprise and disappointment at the sudden closure of Baker’s Delight.
Wodonga Plaza was sold to a Western Australian company, M/Group, for $43 million last year.
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