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End of the chapter for Benalla bookstore

Leading Edge Books Benalla is closing its doors after 15 years of business.

MONIQUE FREER April 30, 2014 3:27am

Bev, Ron and Nicole Schulz are closing the doors at Leading Edge Books Benalla.


After 15 years of business Leading Edge Books Benalla will close the doors and farewell its customers this weekend.

Business partners Ron and Bev Schulz said the decision to close was heartbreaking, as they were saying goodbye to people who had become friends.

‘‘We’ve made some wonderful lasting friendships ... they’re not customers, they’re friends,’’ Bev said.

The Schulz family opened the business in June 1999 at 95 Bridge St, before purchasing the shop next door and expanding their book store.

Bev said they opened the shop because the couple wanted to do something together, and in the early days they worked with their eldest daughter, Tara.

Tara left the store when she went to university to study teaching, however her sister Nicole took up the post when she finished secondary school.

‘‘It’s pretty much been like home,’’ Nicole said.

‘‘We can’t say thank-you to our customers enough.’’

While Ron has always enjoyed reading, it was not a love of literature that brought him to Leading Edge Books.

‘‘(It was) the feeling that books were a useful tool to get through difficult times as well as an instrument of entertainment and education,’’ he said.

‘‘Doctors prescribe books now; we find that many customers come in with prescriptions for either themselves or their children and we’ve been here to assist and advise, particularly over the last 10 years or so.’’

During the past 15 years the book store has hosted many well-known authors including Peter FitzSimons and Ray Martin.

‘‘It’s always exciting to get someone who’s well known to come into your shop and a highlight was when Ray Martin came in and signed books for our customers,’’ Bev said.

She said what was particularly special was sitting down with Ray after the signing and sharing stories over coffee and Benalla pies.

However, Ron said it was the loyal and caring customers that were the highlight of his time at the store.

‘‘The delighted person who makes your day, who brings you chocolates and flowers, the handwritten letters,’’ Ron said.

‘‘To all our amazing customers, thank-you for your wonderful support over the time we’ve been in the shop.’’

Ron said he was closing the store due to health reasons, and would now enjoy a well-earned holiday in Europe with Bev.

‘‘We’re hoping that a white knight might take over the business ... so that Benalla doesn’t lose this wonderful asset,’’ Ron said.

Leading Edge Books Benalla will close its doors on Saturday, May 3. Ray Martin will return to Benalla to close the shop at a function at Benalla Performing Arts and Convention Centre at 7 pm, with his daughter Jenna who will launch her debut book Driving Under the Influence.

Geoff Harvey will complete the evening, playing on the grand piano.

Tickets are $35 and include gourmet nibbles; for ticket purchases phone BPACC on 57625155.

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