Foodstuffs still wants Willy out

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 17/03/2014
 Keun ‘‘Willy’’ Mook Yook
STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ
PETITION: Keun ‘‘Willy’’ Mook Yook from Willy Dairy.

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Supermarket giant Foodstuffs is continuing with plans to force a popular Christchurch dairy out of a suburban shopping centre.

More than 2700 people have signed a petition to save Halswell's Willy Dairy after Foodstuffs confirmed it would not offer owner Keun Mook Yook a space in its rebuilt shopping complex.

Yook, known as William, had until April 1 to hand over the keys to the shop he had operated for 13 years.

Foodstuffs planned to "fill the void" left by his shop by expanding its New World supermarket as it rebuilt the earthquake-damaged shopping centre over the next 15 to 18 months.

Several other affected shops had been given container buildings to work out of while the rebuild was under way, but Foodstuffs was still refusing to give Yook space in its new complex, despite an outpouring of support from customers.

An extra 140 people had signed a petition to save his shop since his plight was highlighted by The Press last week.

"Many people came to my shop to sign the petition. Many people know me, they congratulated me for fighting," Yook said.

Foodstuffs South Island property manager Clayton Young told Yook in an email that demolition company Armitage Williams would begin knocking down the old supermarket from Monday.

"We would also remind you . . . that we need the keys to the shop available for collection on the 1st April 2014," Young wrote.

Yook said he had been unable to find another space on his own as costs had skyrocketed after Canterbury's quakes, and he had "no idea" what he would do after he had to leave his Halswell site.

Foodstuffs told The Press that it was helping him find alternative premises, but Yook said the company had not given him any assistance.

Yook planned to close his shop's doors on March 25, allowing time to clear out the dairy before the April 1 deadline.

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- The Press

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