Yesterday's advertising, tomorrow's commercial history

The famed sportsgoods store cycled off into the sunset three years ago but the De Grandi brand still lingers.

Michael De Grandi (front) and Cr Peter Hulin believe the wall of the former De Grandi’s Sportsgoods store is a piece of the city’s commercial history worth preserving. 140728LP17 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

Michael De Grandi (front) and Cr Peter Hulin believe the wall of the former De Grandi’s Sportsgoods store is a piece of the city’s commercial history worth preserving. 140728LP17 Picture: LEANNE PICKETT

A fading advertising mural on the side of the former store on Timor Street has promoted De Grandi Sportsgoods since the 1950s, with calls for its preservation as a significant piece of local commercial art.

Former proprietor Michael De Grandi said it was heartening that many people were fond of the wall, believed to date back half a century.

Mr De Grandi said retail murals were once common but over the decades the De Grandi wall had become somewhat of a landmark as similar commercial signage disappeared. 

“It would be great to keep it — I suppose it’s become a part of Warrnambool history these days,” he said.

“I’m not exactly sure how old it would be but the phone number gives a bit of a hint. I’d reckon it would be either the late 1950s or early ’60s, so it’s roughly 50 years old.”

Signwriter Alex O’Flynn is believed to have created the mural.

The sign includes advertisements for Slazenger and Malvern Star alongside promotion of the 20 sporting codes catered for by De Grandi’s Sportsgoods.

Cr Peter Hulin raised the issue of preservation at last week’s council meeting. He said cultural art like the De Grandi mural would disappear through neglect.

“De Grandi’s Sportsgoods were such an iconic business in Warrnambool so I would have thought it’s obvious that we should do our best to protect this sign,” he said.

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