The closure of Smyths of Narooma will end more than 80 years of continual trading by the Smyth family but shop owner Lorna Smyth at age 85 is ready to retire.
The clothing shop will remain open for a few more months but will close once the current stock is sold.
The business was started by William Burnett Smyth Snr in 1934 as WB Smyth General Provider at the location of the current Narooma New and Used shop across the highway in Midtown Narooma.
It moved to its current location just to the east of the pedestrian crossing in 1952, and the shop has had two extensions to the back since the building was built.
Lorna Smyth took over the business in 2001 when her husband William Burnett Smyth Jr died in 2001.
“Bill Junior died in 2001 and we had a five-year plan in place and it now up to 16 years and we couldn’t extend it any longer,” she said. “I think we’ve done very well over these years.
“I do realise this will leave a big vacant space in Narooma but we will keep trading for a few months until the stock is gone.”
Bill Senior was a councillor for 27 years and four months and the town’s oval is named after him. Both he and his son were foundation members of Narooma Rotary, while Bill Senior’s wife Clarice was a former president of the Narooma Golf Club.
Working with Mrs Smyth in the shop these days is her daughter Alison Gowen and loyal employee of 38 years Les Campbell.
Alison said she started working in the shop at age 8 on the thong counter at Christmas, then leaving the business to have her own family.
She returned in the year 2000 when the GST was introduced and her father needed her financial skills.
Mrs Smyth said she was not leaving Narooma but planned to enjoy her retirement and continue her hobbies of staying active with swimming and aqua aerobics.
She and her team are sad to closing up shop and will miss their loyal customers.
“We’re very sorry for our very loyal customers,” she said. “Narooma has been very kind to us, people have been very generous and we’ve had lots of lovely people come in with well wishes and we’re very grateful that they’ve come to talk to us.”
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