'Pushed out' by big firms, parking fees

AFTER 14 years as Launceston city's resident hardware salesman, Shane Dennington says he has been pushed out of business by big corporations and parking fees.

Charles Street Hardware is having a closing down sale and will shut its doors for the final time on Friday.

Mr Dennington, 69, said his retirement decision was made easier by the Launceston City Council's parking fees and penalties, which he said had killed foot traffic through the central business district _ pushing people to free parking centres like Mowbray and Kings Meadows.

He said that Wesfarmers opening of a second Bunnings Warehouse in Launceston to compete against the city's two Woolworths-owned Becks stores also did not help small Northern retailers.

Charles Street Hardware is the second of its kind to close recently, after Prospect's Cleavers Mitre 10 shut down last month.

``Town has just died . . . the foot traffic is way down and it is just getting harder and harder in retail because of the fact we have got $25 parking tickets and $2.30 an hour fees,'' Mr Dennington said.

``It doesn't encourage people to come in when surrounding majors are offering free parking _ it is slowly killing the town.''

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