Newtownabbey Small Traders’ Association opposed the opening of the Abbeycentre six days a week in July 1979.
According to a report in the East Antrim Times, many small business owners were “feeling the pinch” since the modern Abbeycentre complex opened the previous November.
Councillor Billy Stringer remarked: “It will be wanting to trade seven days a week next.
“Are we going to be sending boys back up chimneys again,” he added.
The centre’s opening hours required the approval of the local authority which invited traders in the borough to put forward their views.
If there were deemed to be sufficient objections, a public inquiry could be held.