Yass IGA's empty shelves leave shoppers and businesses hungry for answers

Yass IGA customers and surrounding businesses are hungry for answers about why the supermarket's shelves have been sparsely stocked for months.

This week, the supermarket's wholesale distributor Metcash said it was "working on a long-term solution" but couldn't say what that was.

Hurt businesses: Yass Country Kitchen owner Julie Rosser, Chambers Cellars owner Mick Gaffney and Yass Valley Bakery owner Kirsty Forster inside Irvine's Square.

Hurt businesses: Yass Country Kitchen owner Julie Rosser, Chambers Cellars owner Mick Gaffney and Yass Valley Bakery owner Kirsty Forster inside Irvine's Square.

"We're aware of what's been happening and we apologise to customers," a Metcash spokesperson said.

"We will update the community when we can."

Frustrated shoppers say they cannot routinely buy essentials such as bread or milk.

In a recent visit to the supermarket, the Tribune confirmed that many of the shelves were not stocked.

While Metcash supplies and owns the Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA) retail brand, individual IGA stores are independently owned.

An empty dairy isle at Yass IGA.

An empty dairy isle at Yass IGA.

Yass IGA owner Steve Smith has not responded to the Tribune's requests to comment.

Instead, it has been left to the supermarket's shoppers to speak out.

One shopper - who wished not to be named, but who the Tribune verified - said they used to visit the IGA once or twice a week, but now shop elsewhere.

"I was never interested in his (owner Steve Smith's) gimmicks - dog beds, cheese cakes ... - I just wanted my IGA to be like a normal IGA, one that stocks ... essentials.

"Now I either pick those things up in Canberra on my way home from work or go to Woolworths or ALDI locally.

Deli closed at Yass IGA due to lack of products.

Deli closed at Yass IGA due to lack of products.

"Even if they had stock to buy at the moment, their decision to close at 6pm would mean logistically I couldn't shop there during the week anyway."

IGA Yass recently reduced its weekday closing time of 8pm to 6pm.

Frustrated by the situation, the shopper went to IGA's head office via its Facebook page.

The Tribune has seen the response, which said:

"We have been informed that IGA Supa Yass have had their direct stocks stopped.

"However, no additional information has been provided regarding whether the store will close or not.

The bread isle stands bare at Yass IGA.

The bread isle stands bare at Yass IGA.

"We have escalated multiple queries and complaints to the appropriate team to look into, but have yet to receive a response back. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Shoppers aren't the only ones impacted, either. Several businesses surrounding IGA Yass say they've been hurt by the lack of customers visiting the supermarket.

Yass Valley Bakery, Chambers Cellars and Yass Country Kitchen say Irvine's Square has been much quieter for months and their businesses have been hurt.

"It's devastating," said Yass Country Kitchen owner Julie Rosser.

"I've had to cut back employees' hours ... and I wonder if the longer this goes on for how many customers will come back.

"Now you just see customers get to the entrance (of Yass IGA), see the empty shelves, turn around and leave."

Few products remain on the shelves at Yass IGA.

Few products remain on the shelves at Yass IGA.

"We're worried," said Yass Valley Bakery owner Kirsty Foster.

"We don't want to not have a bakery in town, so we're holding on."

"We depend on the supermarket for the centre to evolve," said Chambers Cellars owner Mick Gaffney.

They have all been calling Metcash and Irvine Square owner Alan Irvine for answers.

Mr Irvine has told these businesses that he believes Metcash is finding a new operator, but hasn't been given a time frame.

"I have to believe it's going to get back up running because I can't think of the alternative," Ms Rosser said, mirroring the views of many others here.