Popular Gympie store pulls plug after 24 years
PULLING cucumbers may have been a change for electronics engineer Paul Medway and his wife Cindy, but it was not one that would last.
"The early mornings and back-breaking work, bending over and picking, we thought there's got to be an easier way to earn a living,” Mr Medway said.
So in 1994 they threw open the doors of Cooloola Electronics, a venture which they are now finally pulling the plug on.
Although they have been stalwarts of the Gympie business community for more than 24 years, Mr Medway said the change from farm to store was a surprise.
"We hadn't done retail before, that was a bit of an eye-opener,” he said.
"It's been a challenge. The changes we've seen over 25 years, some were good, some were bad.”
"It's grown there's no doubt about it. We can see the positives in it and we can see the negatives in it.”
Having worked in the rapidly changing world of electronics and technology, Mrs Medway said the most surprising thing was how some areas had come "full circle”.
"CDs were already here when we started, and now we've come full circle back - we've been selling turntables for the past 10 years, and getting more and more demand for it.
"The growth of the internet over the years, and everything that's available on the internet these days. I guess the downside of that is all the online purchases - bricks and mortar stores aren't that relevant any more.”
Mrs Medway said it was the people of Gympie that brought them to the region all those years ago.
"You could walk the street and there was a smile,” she said.
And it is this spirit they have felt since they made the news of the business's closure public.
"It's blown us away... the number of people that have got wind of it on the website and they just can't believe it.
"It's not like we died. We're going to get a life now.”
It is a communal spirit they hope will continue as they move onto the next stage: retirement, for which they have no specific plans.
"We've got a lot of work to do around the property at home,” Mr Medway said.
Travelling is on the list too, but not to the world's far and distant corners.
"We did a lot of overseas travel before we came to Gympie so have no real desire to go back overseas,” he said.