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ON THEIR first day of busi­ness at their Har­bour Rd shopfront over 30 years ago, Lucy Dil­lon and her hus­band Jon re­call feel­ing ner­vous won­der­ing what to say when their first cus­tomer walked in.

Three decades later, the cou­ple has be­come well known in the re­gion, hav­ing dressed brides for their wed­dings, helped fam­i­lies with par­ties and events and peo­ple with their craft and scrap­book­ing over the years.

Mr and Mrs Dil­lon first opened the busi­ness Lucy Dil­lon For Brides af­ter their own mar­riage in Mackay in 1983; Lucy had re­ceived rave re­views on the wed­ding in­vi­ta­tions she de­signed.

Peo­ple started to ask if she would de­sign theirs too, and things took off from there.

“I re­mem­ber at the time ap­proach­ing Jill Burston For Brides and let­ting them know we wanted to start this busi­ness (sup­ply­ing in­vi­ta­tions) be­cause we didn’t want to just come in and be step­ping on their toes,” Mrs Dil­lon said.

“And we weren’t sure what they would say but they were en­cour­ag­ing and happy for us. She (Jill) said ‘here’s the book, go for it’.

“We've been in busi­ness ever since and even­tu­ally we added on the Crafty Cat side so peo­ple who only read the name knew that we had sim­ple art sup­plies too.”

How­ever, with a heavy heart, the cou­ple an­nounced on Thurs­day that they would be clos­ing Lucy Dil­lon For Brides and Crafty Cat, and thanked their cus­tomers for the many happy years.

It was a bit­ter­sweet mo­ment for Mrs Dil­lon, who said she didn’t want to close, but was forced out due to busi­ness slow­ing down over the last four years.

“I am dev­as­tated to be clos­ing up, I was cry­ing when I put that post out on Face­book,” she said.

“Ever since the re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion of the city cen­tre, when out the front of our shop was ba­si­cally un­der con­struc­tion for about two years, no one had any­where to park and it led cus­tomers to go on­line. Only a few came back.

“We went from about $1000 a day to $150 to $300 and it’s just not enough to pay the bills any more, so as much as we would love to stay open, un­for­tu­nately it’s time.”

The busi­ness has moved sev­eral times in its three decades; ini­tially start­ing from a desk in the Dil­lon home, then to Har­bour Rd, and then to two spots on Vic­to­ria St.

At 96 Vic­to­ria St for the most part, the cou­ple said much has changed since they first opened – from the cityscape, to cus­tomers and the shops that came and went. “When we first moved in to that spot there were big beau­ti­ful palm trees lin­ing the streets and the mo­saic art work on the pave­ment,” Mr Dil­lon said.

“You would get lots of peo­ple com­ing down, both lo­cals and tourists, just to see it and take pho­tos, it was lovely to look out­side, we loved work­ing from the shop and be­ing around the buzz.

“It was def­i­nitely a lot busier, the CBD felt like a me­trop­o­lis, there were just peo­ple every­where, so things have def­i­nitely changed in that re­spect too.”

Mr Dil­lon said at the time shops like Ba­tros, In­dian Broth­ers and Cafe Monet were thriv­ing on the street and all the shop at­ten­dants and own­ers got to know each other well.

They are life­long friends with peo­ple like Mavis May, who had her bou­tique a few doors up, and reg­u­lar cus­tomers, who often just popped in for a chat.

“That will be the hard­est part, just say­ing good­bye to ev­ery­one. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the sup­port and friend­ship our cus­tomers have given us over the years,” Ms Dil­lon said.

But it’s not all bad news, the cou­ple are hop­ing to keep their cake dec­o­rat­ing and sup­plies side of the busi­ness, and open up a small shop for it down the track.

For the mo­ment they will fo­cus on shut­ting shop, due to close their doors in com­ing months, no date has been set in stone yet.


SAY­ING GOOD­BYE: Lucy Dil­lon For Brides will be clos­ing down for good af­ter more than 32 years in busi­ness. A fi­nal clo­sure date has not been set.

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