‘It’s time to close so we can book that holiday’

By Lachlan Durling

BOOKWORMS across town will be mourning the loss of one of their favourites — Collins Booksellers on Hare St.

Another familiar face set to disappear from the main street, Darryl Ronchi and the Collins Booksellers team are shutting up shop at the end of next month.

Marking the end of an era, Darryl said he was looking to retire and after there were no buyers for the Hare St address he accepted the inevitable.

“It’s been great having this shop but there comes a time when you have to retire. Our lease will be up soon, and I’ll be 65 in a couple of months so it’s the perfect time,” he said.

For the past 16 years, Darryl has been one of the smiling faces on Hare St, helping readers to escape into their imagination with books of all kinds.

Originally Book City, the shop changed to Collins Booksellers — but that’s about it for his store.

He said he had seen a lot of changes in town over that period, including the disappearance of some great characters.

“In the past 16 years the streets have changed — it used to be mum and dad businesses but there are a lot more national and multi-national businesses now,” he said.

“There used to be some very interesting characters — the likes of Ross Veale, John Carter, the Lords and a lot of others.

“Now, you just don’t have those larger-than-life characters in shops.”

In-store he said it was the characters that made the place.

“We’ve had some interesting and entertaining authors over the years,” he said.

“John Elliott, Ian McNamara, Peter Watt, Fleur Ferris — heaps. Too many to remember.”

As for plans after he retires, he’ll be co-ordinating time off with his wife Kristine Parkinson, to head off on a holiday — possibly overseas.

“Kris is still working at the bank, but I’ve never owned a passport or been overseas,” Darryl said.

“Unless you count Tasmania, that is.

“When you’re in a small business it’s difficult to get any extended amount of time away from the shop.”

Darryl said he and his team were thankful for the support of locals throughout the years, and while he was reluctant to close the doors it was a must.

“It’s been a lot of fun and a great business to be in. A lot of customers have become good friends over the years,’’ he said.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to have great staff with us and that’s definitely still the case now.

“On behalf of Cloe, Kim, Kris and myself, we just want to say thanks.”

■Collins Booksellers will be closing its doors at 170 Hare St on October 31. The store is offering 20 per cent off floor stock.