A CHANGING of the guard took place in Currarong on Monday when the owners of the village’s general store, Robert and Lyndel Copland, retired.
Unlike the service station, the butcher, the bottle shop, the newsagent and the post office, the general store in Currarong will keep trading.
Owners of seafood cafe Zac’s Place Paul and Pam Zaccagnini have taken over the business with plans to combine the two ventures.
Since buying the business 16 years ago, Mr Copland hasn’t been fishing and his golf clubs had rusted to the point that he threw them out. All that is about to change and at 70 he has a little extra spring in his step.
“Lyndel and I approached Paul and Pam and offered them the shop. We were lucky they took it on and I’m extremely happy that locals have taken over it,” Mr Copland said.
Like most small coastal village businesses, the only time they really make money is over the Christmas holidays.
This adds a unique edge to the business and draws on the owners’ commitment through the quiet winter months.
“I remember after our first Christmas in the shop we looked at the bank balance and were very excited,” Mr Copland said.
“However we quickly learned not to get too excited about that.
“In the middle of winter, when it’s dark and raining and there are no people about, it can be very hard to get out of bed early to come and open up the shop.
“Overall, though, we’ve had a good life here in the shop.
“I will miss having a chat every day with the locals who come in for a paper, but all good things must come to an end. It’s time for us to retire,” he said.
The couple have a teenage daughter who is yet to sit the HSC, so they don’t have any plans to leave Currarong.
Mrs Copland has invested 23 years in the store, having worked for the two previous owners. She is now investing time in making travel plans.
“I’ve spend 23 Christmases here and it has been a great way of life,” she said.
“This is basically a convenience store and we sell a bit of everything so the business is more complex than people might imagine,” she said.
Mr Copland said while tourists appreciated the shop, they would like to see more support from locals.
“If the locals spent $5 each week it would make a huge difference to the business, and they might only pay 90 cents more than if they spend that money elsewhere,” he said.
Mr and Mrs Zaccagnini are still getting their heads around the intricacies of their new business and are in a state of excitement and anxiety.
They have bold plans for the future of the business, which they believe are supported by the new owner of the building complex.
“Let’s just say Zac’s Place could end up with one of the best water views around,” Mr Zaccagnini said.
“Local people are relieved the shop is staying open and that locals are taking over it.
“All the staff will be staying on and our plans could even mean more work in the area,” he said.