A business decision has forced the closure of a Warrawong fish shop, only six months after it opened.
Fish Time in Warrawong Plaza has sold its last fillet, with co-owner Tony Musumeci saying a long list of rising costs forced his hand.
"The cost of living just went through the roof, and the business doesn't make enough to cover that," Mr Musumeci said.
A seafood industry veteran, Mr Musumeci was lured out of retirement with the offer to come in and help get Fish Time up and running in Warrawong.
Opening just before Easter, the shop had consistent trade, but the cost equation was not what it once was.
"To run today's business, you can't work cheap. Higher rents, high wages, high outgoings, electricity, gas, oils and products," Mr Musumeci said.
Key supplies had doubled in cost or more in the past 10 years, and with interest rates and other cost of living pressures hitting customer's spending, prices couldn't keep up with costs.
With the store negotiating its rent with the centre management, the owners decided to call it quits, and said they harboured no bad blood towards the mall's managers JLL.
"I don't have a crystal ball to know what's happening in one year's time," Mr Musumeci said.
Andrew Martin, Warrawong Plaza centre manager, said the site would continue to evolve to meet the needs of customers.
"We were pleased to open Planet Fitness Gym late 2022. Chou Chou Bebe, a kids play centre, will open late September and a brand-new look Woolworths with Direct to Boot and home delivery services is scheduled to open early 2024," he said.
When news broke of the store's closure, regular customers took to Facebook to lament the demise of Fish Time.
"The food was really nice there, what a shame," one said.
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