‘McDonald’s is opening right next to my burger van pitch but I refuse to move’


Carl George has sold burgers and hot dogs at the same site in Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent for nearly two decades and has seen Asda, Home Bargains and Costa Coffee make the site their home – he now faces extra competition from McDonald’s

Carl George insists he won't leave the site despite McDonald's opening a restaurant just yards away
Carl George insists he won’t leave the site despite McDonald’s opening a restaurant just yards away

A defiant burger van owner who has been selling food at the same spot for nearly 20 years is refusing to move despite a new McDonald’s restaurant opening just yards away.

Carl George purchased the van for £10,000 around 18 years ago and has been pitched at the site in Blaina Road, Brynmawr, Blaenau Gwent ever since.

The 57-year-old, who sells thousands of pounds worth of food every month, has seen Asda, Home Bargains and Costa Coffee make the site their home in recent years, and now faces extra competition with McDonald’s opening a restaurant next month.

Carl, who is based at the entrance of the retail park, is refusing to move however, reports Wales Online.

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Carl sells thousands of pounds worth of food every month
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

“I’ve lived in Brynmawr my entire life and have always worked in food and catering businesses because it’s what I love to do.

“I don’t know how to do anything else to be honest with you and for me this really is my livelihood and the way I support my family,” he said.

“I bought the van for £10,000 about 18 years ago and set myself up here on this corner even before the Asda was built and I have worked hard to make myself an established business in that time.

Carl has been selling food at the site for nearly two decades
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

“We’re busy every day with a lot of local tradesmen and service people but we also get a large amount of people coming for a bite to eat after they’ve been to the shops as well.

“It’s been amazing and we have some brilliant customers so to think of losing that trade now is very worrying for me and my family.

“When it opens next month I will be only a few feet away from the drive-through though I’m sure if they wanted to they could have situated it slightly differently to account for me being here.

Carl admits he does feel threatened by the positioning of the new McDonald’s restaurant
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

“Luckily I own this small corner of land on a long-term lease so there’s no way they can make me move from my spot.

“At the moment I constantly have people coming over and asking what I’m going to do when it opens, because they see how it looks with me right next-door, but my answer has always remained the same.

“I’ve worked hard to get to where I am and I’m not planning on moving any time soon.”

The site in Brynmawr
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

The site in Blaina Road was formerly home to the Dunlop Semtex factory but has seen a number of regeneration projects over the past two decades.

Carl admits he does feel threatened by the positioning of the new McDonald’s restaurant, mainly because the fast-food chain could have a severe impact on his business over time.

The business owner, who sells a range of burgers and hot dogs, as well as daily specials such as pork rolls, hopes that after such a long stint in the Brynmawr area his customers will continue using his services.

Carl’s van is popular with workers
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

“It’s going to be a massive competition for us to have a giant food chain like this open up so close and of course I am feeling the pressure of going up against them because I really don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said .

“Whether or not it was built this way on purpose I really don’t know but either way nobody has ever spoken to me about the construction.

“Obviously you want to see new things being built but at the same time what they have done with this McDonald’s has been ridiculous and I really do feel threatened by it now.

Carl serves a range of food
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Image:

WalesOnline/Rob Browne)

“I just hope people keep coming here so I can continue to make a living and doing what I love to do. At my age I’m too old to do anything else now so this is incredibly important to me and my family and could have a big impact on our lives.

“I’m just thankful that I do have so many loyal customers and the support I’ve had from the people of the town and even around the borough has meant a lot.

“I guess we’ll just have to keep going and see what happens now but of course it is a worrying time.”

A McDonald’s spokesman said: “Our new restaurant in Brynmawr will bring significant investment to the area and create at least 65 jobs for local people.

“We are proud of the positive role we play in the communities we serve and look forward to welcoming customers when we open in early spring.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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