A Port Adelaide hardware store has gone into liquidation with about 50 workers losing their jobs.
Staff at the Mann's Mitre 10 on Robe Street were told not to turn up this morning and the building was closed to customers.
The Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union (CFMEU) says the locks on the building were changed yesterday and staff have not been able to collect their belongings.
The landlord, the Cohen Group, alleges the business is five months behind on its rent and owes more than $300,000.
Notices on the door of the building provide details of the rental dispute.
The third-generation family-run business has been operating in the area for about 90 years.
Administrator Tim Clifton says he met with directors this morning when the decision was made to liquidate the company.
"I was advised the landlord had distrained for unpaid rent over the business and that left the directors in the position where the business was untenable," he said.
"I presume at this stage trading was poor and the company just didn't have the money to pay the rent." Mr Clifton says workers have been informed of the decision.
"Unfortunately they had to terminate their employment this morning and we've rung them all," he said.
"We'll do our best to get them their entitlements under the government schemes, and we calculate what they're owed in the next few days and hopefully get that underway for them." 'Tell-tale sign' CFMEU state secretary Dave Kirner says the closure means workers are already missing out on pay owed to them.
"My understanding is that pays are done through the site itself," he said.
"It's a 90-year-old Port Adelaide institution and obviously tradespeople have gone there this morning to get organised to get things for their jobs and the place is all locked up.
"The lawyers have apparently moved in and changed the locks on the building.
"Normally in these situations, somebody comes in and actually people get some information and understandings.
At this stage people are really in the dark." Mr Kirner says he became aware of the situation when he was travelling past the building this morning.
"I noticed the gates were shut and there were no materials out the front and in these times it can be a bit of a tell-tale sign.
Normally this place is extremely busy." Mr Clifton says while it is not common to change the locks during a dispute, landlords acted within their rights.
"There's certain acts in South Australia which allow landlords to distrain for unpaid rent...
the landlords have followed that act," he said.
"It's a sad day.
It's a sign of the times isn't it.
Things are tough out there." Port Adelaide Mayor Gary Johanson says it is the second major job-loss announcement in the area this week, after Penrice Soda announced plans to close part of their operations.
Mr Johanson says it is up to locals, not landlords, to ensure businesses stay afloat.
"The landlord is not at fault here.
The landlord is acting within their rights," he said.
"This is the sort of thing we cannot afford to lose if we're serious about the Port being redeveloped.
"This is not a multinational company.
This is a franchise of a bigger company but it is a family franchise and it employs a lot of staff.
The staff that they employ are local people and they're employing large amounts of staff in relation to their turnover.
"We need to take stock of what local businesses we have left and say, how can we ensure they stay with us?"