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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Store staff face uncertain future

THE well-known video-rental chain Blockbusters has left Barrow – with uncertainty surrounding the fate of its staff.

The store on Hindpool Road shut its doors for the last time on New Year’s Day, amid rumours that the unit will become the location of a new Frankie and Benny’s restaurant.

Customers have been told rentals can still be made at the nearest remaining Blockbusters, in Market Street, Ulverston.

On Monday, December 31 a staff member at the Barrow Blockbuster said: “The Ulverston shop is too small to take us all on, there’s quite a few of us.

“We don’t know what will happen. We haven’t been spoken to about it yet.”

Blockbusters’ press office declined to comment on the closure of the Barrow store, and it is uncertain whether any staff members will be offered alternative employment.

The Ulverston store could not comment on the employment situation at Barrow.

The Restaurant Group that operates Frankie and Benny’s restaurants, have so far failed to confirm the exact location of where the Italian eatery will open, but adverts have been placed on website www.caterer.com for a store manager and deputy manager, with the address listed as Hindpool Road.

Fabien Dore, recruitment manager for The Restaurant Group said: “It is about 90 per cent certain that a new Frankie and Benny’s will be opening in Barrow.

“It should be in the second quarter, so around April or May next year.

“We are recruiting early because managers need to train as staff members for around four months, and we are aware it could be quite hard to recruit in the local area.”

Anne Burns, County Councilor for Hindpool, said she welcomed the jobs that Frankie and Benny’s may bring but was cautious about any ramifications for local businesses.

She said: “I have not heard anything about the new Frankie and Benny’s yet, but Blockbusters closing is an awful thing to happen.

“If Frankie and Benny’s creates jobs then that will be good, but I’m just sorry for anybody who might be losing their job at Blockbusters.

“I’m not sure how many more restaurants the area can take, and I just hope if this new restaurant opens it doesn’t put one that has been established for many years out of business.”

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