SHELVES were emptied and tears flowed freely as Myer closed its doors for the final time on Sunday, for what was not only a shopping destination and a place of employment, but a close-knit family.
The responsibility for the last shutting of the roller door was given to service manager Anne Brakenridge with 34 years’ service and store manager Phillip Murray with 39 years’ service as dozens of current and former staff members gathered around them, some wearing parts of old Grace Bros uniforms.
It was followed by a proud wave goodbye from the staircase.
Mrs Brakenridge said it had been a tough day, but it was tempered by the number of people who visited.
“The nicest part was when customers came in to thank us for what we’ve done for them,” she said.
“We’re very happy with what we’ve done and we can hold our heads up high.”
A scan around the once-bustling department store revealed many long-term former employees who had worked under the store’s various names for decades.
Joe Wilkins worked at the store from 1975-2004 in the grocery section, then at the loading dock, deliveries and laybys.
“I do feel sad now that it’s closing,” he said.
“I nearly cried when I walked in here on Australia Day – you lose the staff and that’s the worst part.”
Mrs Brakenridge said the retention levels were testament to the family culture.
“It’s just an extremely happy place,” she said.
“Trading seven days a week can be tough, but we all got there and when we came to work, we were part of another family.”
Six staff will pack up the remaining stock in the next two days for shipping to Dubbo.
Labourers will then take over, spending the next 10 days removing the display furniture.
The redevelopment will be completed in June, 2018.