WARRNAMBOOL Disposals’ closing-down sale is uncovering hidden treasures.
Co-owner of the Liebig Street fixture, Dennis Bunworth, said a canvas tent — a relic in these times of much lighter, synthetic materials — was among the items revealed as the sale cleared out stock.
More surprises are sure to come to light as the sale progresses with Mr Bunworth estimating the store held at least about 50,000 items of camping and outdoor equipment over its three floors.
Mr Bunworth, 61, is closing the store with regret after 31 years of trading.
“I love the industry,” he said.
Mr Bunworth said he would have liked to have kept working for another 10-15 years but two major heart operations in recent years and stiff competition from the local branches of national camping and outdoor retailers prompted his decision.
However, his sadness about closing did not stop him from appreciating the good support he had received from customers during the past 31 years, he said.
“We have had some good times in our business,” Mr Bunworth said.
He said he had been fortunate to have been given the opportunity by the south-west disposals baron, George Taylor, to first buy the shop’s business and then later the Liebig Street premises.
Mr Bunworth worked for George Taylor in the Warrnambool store, as well as a few other of Mr Taylor’s south-west disposals stores, before Mr Taylor asked if he was interested in taking on the business.
Despite his wife Diana’s frequent calls for the store’s appearance to be revamped, Mr Bunworth said he had maintained the ‘no frills’ look that George Taylor had succeeded with.
Rather than being a deterrent, the store’s bare wooden floorboards and cobwebbed ceilings were a drawcard to many customers who were happy to get down on their knees to secure a bargain during the present sale, he said.
A self-confessed gadget lover, Mr Bunworth said big changes in the technology of camping and outdoor equipment kept him interested over the years.
Although he enjoyed helping people into the great outdoors he admits to being only an occasional camper and fisherman himself. His wife preferred a higher standard of accommodation, he said.
The Bunworths have not yet decided what they intend to do with the building.