HEATHCOTE’S main retail strip often chops and changes to satisfy local and visitor expectation.
Over the last seven and a half years there have been a few constants – and one has been Wayne and Karen McKay in the Heathcote Newsagency.
That is all about to change however, with Karen and Wayne announcing that they will be handing the reins over to Rhonda, Bryan and Tim Linnell.
The Linnells recently took over the Heathcote post office and will run the newsagency out of the post office.
The transition will take place over the Labour Day long weekend in March and newspapers will be available from both locations until the relocation to the post office is complete, with home delivery and other existing newspaper supply outlets unaffected.
Both the McKays and Linnells are striving to make the change as smooth as possible, and Wayne made it clear he will support the new owners in any way possible.
“We aren’t running away, we are going to be right there behind Rhonda, Bryan and Tim as they take on this challenge; any help they need we will be here to give them,” Wayne said.
It is a big change for High Street and the Heathcote community — the newsagency has been running out of the same location for over half a century.
However, Bryan said his family is ready for whatever adversity change throws their way.
“It is a bit like eating an elephant you have to take small bites — if you do it all at once you’ll choke, that is why we will use this period before Labour Day weekend to get ready,” Bryan said.
“It is a big challenge but I feel as if we thrive on a challenge like this.”
Bryan said the Linnells will make the newsagency about three things — with a large focus on the community.
“We want to have a real focus on customer service, we want people to enjoy their experience when they come into the shop and we also want to expand our business. We are putting those three things together to hopefully make a successful business.”
While both Bryan and Wayne think the small time period between now and Labour Day weekend is slightly “ambitious” they both knew it was better to do it sooner rather than later.
Wayne said he has full confidence in the Linnell family and what they have planned for the future.
“I have no doubt when I say that in five years’ time I will look back and Bryan, Rhonda and Tim will have the newsagents going strong,” he said.
Bryan thanked Wayne and Karen for their help through the transition period to date.
“Wayne and Karen have made this process almost delightful, I say almost because there has been a lot of paperwork,” he said.
“Taking on this role definitely isn’t something we anticipated, we have only been in the business for four months but when this opportunity popped up it was just too good to refuse.
“We can’t wait to get started.”