WH Emmett and Co at Stanhope will close its doors for the final time on Monday.
There are not many businesses around these days that have almost 100 years of family ownership behind them and it will be a sad day for many to see the end of such a local institution.
After spending just a few minutes in the company of owners Dennis and Glenis Roberts, and staff member of 42 years Kieran Walsh, it is easy to see how personal service has been one of the cornerstones behind the success and longevity of the hardware and supplies business.
Most customers are known on first name terms and if they are coming in to collect an order, the item is often on the counter ready for them by the time they reach it.
Mr and Mrs Roberts and Mr Walsh all said they would miss the daily interaction and banter with their regular customers.
‘‘You really are part of the community and we’ve had great loyalty from so many people around here,’’ Mr Roberts said.
While providing great service has always been an integral part of the business, the type and range of products has changed a lot over the years.
‘‘People used to come in and ask for a hammer, but now there are so many different types and grades, it’s not always so easy to choose,’’ he said.
Mrs Roberts, whose grandfather William (Bill) Horsefield Emmett founded the business in 1920, said she loved the old shop as it was full of character.
She has fond memories of the family business from her childhood.
‘‘When I was kid we loved going down to the old shop. In those days, the wheat was stacked up in 40
‘‘With all the safety regulations now, you could never do anything like that.
‘‘They didn’t have forklifts either, so everything was on raised storage and had to be loaded with hand trolleys.
‘‘It’s a shame no-one wants to take it on and keep the business going.’’
Mr Walsh remembered having a few practical jokes being played on him over the years.
‘‘I’m not keen on snakes and there have been several occasions where one has been left under the counter for me to find,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve enjoyed working with all the family and they’ve been a pleasure to work for.’’
Mr and Mrs Roberts are planning to enjoy their retirement.
‘‘We’ve got three children and four grandchildren and we’re looking forward to visiting and spending some time with them, and it will be lovely to have the flexibility to go where and when we want to,’’ Mrs Roberts said.
Mr Roberts enjoys playing social bowls and was also planning to do some fishing with friends, while Mr Walsh was planning to take a break, but said he already had some plans for the future.
The shop will close on Monday, September 30.
WH Emmett and Co founded in 1920
WH Emmett and Co was founded in 1920 by William (Bill) Horsefield Emmett, originally operating from home and attending stock sales at the railway yards and trucking cattle to Melbourne.
He then rented space at Harry Wright’s garage in Stanhope before moving to a shed on the Rushworth-Girgarre Rd.
About 1939, a bigger shop was built on the opposite side of the road and business ran from there until Bill’s death in 1941.
Two of Bill’s sons, Bruce and Mervyn, continued the business and in 1966 a new store was built in the main street.
Current owner Dennis Roberts joined the staff in 1968 and married Mervyn’s daughter Glenis and after being joint-owners of the business for several years the couple took on sole ownership in 1993.
W H Emmett and Co at Stanhope will close its doors for the last time on Monday after nearly 100 years. Long-term staff member Kieran Walsh and owners Glenis and Dennis Roberts are sorry to see the shop close.
The second W H Emmett and Co agency on Rushworth/Girgarre Rd which was used from 1925-1939.
The third W H Emmett agency which was occupied from 1939.
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