Five jobs go as Spalding Wimpy shuts its doors

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SPALDING’S town centre Wimpy shut on Monday with the loss of five jobs.

It’s the second time in five years that the franchise has ceased trading on the prominent Market Place site.

The restaurant was trading on Monday but closed after the last customers left at 5pm.

Franchisee Willie Opperman, a businessman based in South Africa, said he had spent a lot of money on the business but couldn’t make a go of it in the current economic climate and in the face of fierce competition from cut-price food outlets.

He said: “We are guided by national pricing so we can’t always compete with people like Wetherspoons.”

Mr Opperman lives in South Africa for much of the year but visited Spalding every couple of months to oversee the business.

He said trading had been difficult for four or five months and as late as last Wednesday he was still trying to source additional cash to keep the business open.

Mr Opperman said: “We are sorry for the loyal customers that we can’t serve them any more. That’s life. We tried and it didn’t work and we have to move on.”

He said the business opened on the town centre site rather than at Springfields in response to requests from people who wanted to see the Wimpy back in town.

Twenty-five new jobs were created when the franchise re-opened in September 2009.

Gradually that number has gone down and the five staff remaining at the outlet learned on Monday that they were out of a job.

Mr Opperman said he has since spoken to one employee who has been offered two positions – and a second has an interview.

He has also taken steps to secure employees jobs in other Wimpy outlets but the nearest is at King’s Lynn.

Tables and chairs have already been removed from the restaurant.

The restaurant was completely revamped with a swish front of house seating area and modern decor when it opened its doors to the public two years ago.

The building had been empty since September 2006 when the former Wimpy restaurant closed with the loss of nine jobs.