Two of the most familiar faces in Belmore Street, Don and Heather McPhee, will celebrate their thirty years in business this week.
Don and Heather will celebrate the special milestone this Thursday, December 7 after taking over the business thirty years to the day in 1987.
The couple also thought now was the perfect time to thank their loyal customers and the community for supporting them over the past thirty years.
“We’ve enjoyed the business and we hope it continues into the future to provide a service for our local customers and tourist customers alike,” Heather said.
“We’re still a unique little store because of the age group we cater for so we hope it can stick around.
“We hope business can continue to provide for the local customers with the wide range of ladies fashion,” Don added.
The McPhees bought the business from Jeanette McDonald who was a part of the Bown family that established a ladies wear business in Yarrawonga in 1931 and amalgamated with Houghtons in the mid 1960s.
“In those days it was strictly clothing stores down the main street, we were a one off department store,” Don said.
“Fashion was a big business in those days.”
By the time Don and Heather bought the business in 1987, the Bowns had reduced the floor space by half and cleared some of their stock items.
“They’d already modernised it before we got here,” Heather said.
“It was a bigger store before we took over as they renovated it in 1982,” Don said.
“When we started here, by the late 80s there were about 12 boutiques selling ladieswear, virtually two on each side of the road in each block.”
Although not the oldest store in town Houghtons is definitely one of the most senior stores and one that is still running.
“We’re one of the oldest stores, definitely one of the oldest that is still going at least,” Don said.
“It changed just before we took over and right when we started that you didn’t go into the store to browse back in those days and that’s how our layout now is different to when the business started.
“That’s something that’s changed in recent times.”
What hasn’t changed in the thirty years the McPhees have been in the business is their main focus, the customer.
“One thing we have always prided our self on is our service to customers,” Heather said.
“We feel we still deliver the top service we have always aspired to.”
One factor in insuring that top class customer service has always been the main focus is the retaining of staff with current employee Brenda Welsh being with the business for 17 years.
“It’s been a good little business and its been good for the town,” Brenda said.
Make sure to mark Thursday, December 7 in the diary and drop into Houghtons to wish them a happy birthday with every customer to the store on the milestone day receiving a giveaway.