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27 May 2020
By SARAH MATTHEWS
Goroke’s Edwin Mitchell was looking for a career off the family farm when he bought the town’s newsagency in 1970.
Five decades later, Mitchells Newsagent is still going strong.
Mr Mitchell, who runs the newsagency and takeaway food business with his wife, Glenys, said he was pleased to chalk up 50 years in the role.
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“It’s a big milestone,” he said.
“I bought the store off a Mrs Bland, who had it for several years.
“I’d been on the farm and was looking for something else to do.
“We started off in a rented premises and then moved to another shop. This is our third shop, we bought it several years ago.”
Mr Mitchell said he had experienced many changes throughout the past 50 years, including a dwindling of the region’s population.
“It’s hard to believe all the changes to the town,” he said.
“We’ve lost a lot of businesses throughout the years – from stock agents and banks, to the railways and a land department office.
“As other small businesses closed, we’ve taken over some of their duties. There used to be a milk bar and a bakery, and we’ve added some of those things. We’ve become more of a mixed business.”
Mr Mitchell said he loved the west Wimmera community and could not imagine living anywhere else.
“I grew up in the district and went to school here,” he said.
“I was happy to stay in the area. It’s a good community and a very positive community.
“I love interacting with customers – I’ve served three generations in my time.”
Mr Mitchell said he was grateful to his customers, who made an effort to shop locally.
“I have had loyal customers, who continue to buy items from the newsagent side of the business, whether it be newspapers, stationery or cards,” he said.
“Mrs Bland once said to me the small sales are the little drips that help fill the bucket, and she’s right.
“To most people, spending a few dollars here and there doesn’t mean much, but those continual small sales are important to us.
“We are grateful for our ongoing support.”
Mr Mitchell said he was also grateful for ongoing support from his wife, their daughters and other staff members throughout the years.
“I love it, but is a very time-consuming job,” he said.
“You’ve got to keep up with everything that’s going on.
“Our daughters have all helped in the business along the way.
“We have five daughters and, believe it or not, we have 10 grandsons, along with one grand-daughter.”
Mr Mitchell said although many businesses were doing it tough throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he looked forward to an increase in traffic once restrictions were lifted.
“It’s a tough time at the moment,” he said.
“But even though a lot of businesses have closed down, before the coronavirus we were getting more visitors than we had ever had.”
Mr Mitchell said the return of water to the region’s lakes after years of drought had brought travellers out in droves.
“We had lots of caravanners in particular stopping on their way through,” he said.
“Last winter was very busy and hopefully we will get a lot of travellers again once people are allowed to.”
Mr Mitchell said he enjoyed keeping busy and had no plans to shut up shop.
“It gives us something to do each day – gets you out of bed,” he said.
“When I started, I never thought I’d be here 50 years later.
“I don’t know where the time has gone.”
The entire May 27, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!
The entire May 27, 2020 edition of AgLife is available online. READ IT HERE!