BYE: Store owner Uttam Raiyani is closing his Nambour business.
BYE: Store owner Uttam Raiyani is closing his Nambour business. John McCutcheon

Staff lose out as owner forced to shut up shop

THERE will be a little less variety in Nambour come September as a Howard St store closes it's doors for good.

Countrywide Variety has decided to close down after a few years of suffering poor retail sales, high electricity costs and constant petty theft.

Owner Uttam Raiyani was incredibly sad that the business he has built from the ground up five years ago had been forced to close.

"I put everything into it, it was my first business when I arrived from India and it will be sad to see everything go," Mr Raiyani said.

"I have really loved running my business in Nambour, we have really great customers, who are very friendly and it's sad to say goodbye.

"I've sadly been forced not to renew my lease, rising bills and the costs of running the business just made it not viable to renew it."

Over the past five years Countrywide Variety has serviced the community by selling discounted goods and knick knacks. In March, Mr Raiyani took to social media to ask the community if he should change his business or to remain Countrywide Variety.

The community had their say, with the vast majority of the results persuading Mr Raiyani to remain under the same name and business style.

"Nambour has such a great community feel, and we've people coming in all the way from Gympie and surrounds just to buy from our arts and crafts section," Mr Raiyani said.

"Obviously we don't want to go, everyone is like family here and I feel extremely bad for that staff that won't have jobs to go to come August."

Karen Thompson, the manager of Countrywide Variety feared what unemployment might mean for her staff and was not happy the business she loved working for had been forced to close.

"We are all a little older here, and not being able to find work again is a very real possibility for some," she said.

"But we all feel worse for Uttam, he has poured his heart and soul into this shop. He loves it."

Countrywide Variety will close it's doors finally in August, with no future plans of reopening.