The future of Strabane iconic business, Linton and Robinson, is in jeopardy this week as administrators were called in, sparking fears of dozens of job losses.
It’s understood that staff at Linton and Robinson were told on Tuesday evening not to go to work on Wednesday, with an emergency meeting with directors scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. It is understood that meeting culminated in news of administration.
A sign posted on the shutters of both its family-owned stores this week reads, “These premises will remain closed until further notice.”
In recent years, the family-owned firm has struggled amid falling customer numbers. In 2010, plans to develop Linton and Robinson to an online-only business were abandoned, with the company instead opting to maintain its two stores with a reduced workforce.
Local Independent Colr. Eugene McMenamin says the loss of the family-owned firm will be a devastating blow to the area.
“To the best of my knowledge, administrators have been appointed for Linton and Robinson and staff are to receive a letter in the near future,” Colr McMenamin told the ‘Journal’.
“The staff were actually rang on Tuesday and told not to come into their work on Wednesday as the business was closing - and you’re talking 30 to 40 jobs here, so it’s a huge blow. To be fair to the firm, they’ve been having difficulties for the last few years and have tried their best to protect staff and weather the storm, but unfortunately it just hasn’t worked for them.”
Colr McMenamin believes that the store occupies a special place in the hearts of Strabane people and will be sorely missed.
“Linton and Robinson have been in Strabane for nearly 60 years and have been the mainstay of the Strabane community in relation to retail. They created this store and only a few years ago, they invested heavily in creating two new, state-of-the-art premises and so this is terrible for everyone involved. It’s so sad to see a family-run business ceasing, but unfortunately that’s the beast of the current recession.”
“More importantly, I sincerely hope that the workers will all be looked after and that they receive a full redundancy package,” he added.
“Some of these are people who have never had another job in their lives - so for them it’s horrific. Like everyone else, these people have mortgages and utility bills to pay and they need to be looked after properly.”