Cracking concerns sour plans for sweet shop

CHRIS HYDE
Last updated 09:05 22/01/2014

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Monday's earthquake has soured plans for a Palmerston North sweet shop owner, who will close its doors out of fear for the safety of her intellectually disabled staff.

Humbug Director Mary Prichard said yesterday that the George St sweet shop, which has recently been awarded Ministry of Social Development funding to take its concept nationwide, would shut today because of concerns about cracking.

Plaster fell down and sweet jars fell off shelves in the earthquake, although there was no obvious structural damage to the actual store.

Ms Prichard said the building's landlord, Hugh Farquhar, needed to have it independently assessed by engineers but she was not waiting for that to be carried out.

"I don't think I'm over-reacting. We want to take this national and we have to make Palmerston North a leading light for the rest of the country and I'm not risking that in the place we were in.

"If I was just working there by myself it would be OK but I can't hand on heart say to the parents of our staff that we are able to keep their young people safe."

Without a place to go, the store was calling for help from the community to keep its 18 staff in employment.

"We are hoping there will be somebody maybe able to come forward and get us a building that is definitely earthquake safe in the short term.

"Even if someone can help us with funding, we would be so grateful."

Mr Farquhar could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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