News / Emergency

IGA supermarket may not reopen for up to a year

Building in Sydney Road has suffered structural damage, says franchisor

Posters in the front windows of the store proclaim it will be reopening soon – but the wait could be up to 12 months.

Mark Phillips


THE much-loved Supa IGA supermarket in Sydney Road could be closed for up to a year as it undergoes extensive repairs and renovations following a fire in January.

What seemed like an initial closure of just a few weeks has now stretched out to at least six months, according to IGA’s national head office.

The extended closure confirms damage from the fire on January 23 is far more extensive than initially suspected.

“We have been advised that the store will take a minimum of 6-12 months to repair because they have suffered structural damage as a result of the fire,” Metcash, the ASX-listed company that owns the IGA brand, said by email in response to inquiries from Brunswick Voice.

Further details about the extent and nature of the damage were not forthcoming.


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The potential 12 months closure is in stark contrast to an upbeat message displayed on posters hanging in the store’s windows.

“We are currently closed for repairs and while this is happening we are making some exciting improvements. We hope you like them and can’t wait to see you soon!” one of the posters says.

They direct customers to an Instagram account.

Most staff at Brunswick Supa IGA have been without work since the fire as they are casually employed but it is understood that some permanent employees have been redeployed to other IGA stores in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Brunswick Voice has made repeated attempts to contact the owners of the Supa IGA for more information about the damage and plans to reopen.

IGA stores around Australia are independently owned and operated under licence from Metcash, which is the wholesale supplier to the 1300 IGA stores around the country.

Metcash has cited a “privacy policy” for refusing to provide contact details for the owners of the Brunswick Supa IGA, a company called Uniworks Pty Ltd, that lists its registered address as the office of a small accountancy firm in Southbank.

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The fire that has forced the store’s closure began in an upstairs office area of the building in the early hours of January 23.

The second floor of the building was quickly engulfed in flames and it took fire crews three hours to bring under control, forcing the closure of Sydney Road. The building was empty at the time and no-one was hurt.

A reception centre that also occupies part of the upstairs area of the building, Almina Brunswick, avoided serious damage.

The official cause of the fire was an electrical fault, and Fire Rescue Victoria has ruled out suspicious circumstances.

Coincidentally, a second reception centre owned by the same company as Almina just a few dozen metres away on the other side of Sydney Road was the target of deliberate arson on February 27.

That attack on Phoenicia Reception above the Brunswick Market has been linked to Melbourne’s ongoing ‘tobacco wars’. In December, a third venue operated by the same company, Almina Docklands, was also seriously damaged by an arson attack.

Victoria Police are continuing to investigate the Phoenicia fire.

This story was edited on March 15 to acknowledge that the supermarket’s Instagram account is no longer suspended.


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