Peter and Rita off to re­tire­ment

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Clau­dia Alp clau­dia.alp@whit­sun­day­times.

CAN­NON­VALE News closed its doors on Sun­day af­ter nearly 25 years ser­vic­ing the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity.

It’s been a long but re­ward­ing jour­ney for own­ers Peter and Rita Fitz, but af­ter putting heart and soul into the busi­ness for so long, they’re ready to put their feet up for a well-earned re­tire­ment.

Mr and Mrs Fitz met in We­wak, Pa­pua New Guinea, 50 years ago where Mrs Fitz worked as a nurs­ing sis­ter and Mr Fitz worked for the Com­mon­wealth Bank.

Now mar­ried for 47 years, the cou­ple have had stints in Tas­ma­nia, Can­berra, Ca­bool­ture, and Toowoomba be­fore pur­chas­ing a part­ner­ship in what be­came Can­non­vale News, later solely owned by Mr and Mrs Fitz.

Mr Fitz said they had been ex­tremely well-sup­ported by peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the clos­ing stages, a bless­ing he said they are both ex­tremely grate­ful for.

“It’s been amaz­ing meet­ing the lo­cal peo­ple and be­ing part of the lo­cal com­mu­nity. We’ve made very good friends and ca­sual ac­quain­tances dur­ing our time here,” he said. CLAU­DIA ALP

“Peo­ple have been re­ally sup­port­ive and got be­hind us. We re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate that. It’s been quite hum­bling and emo­tional for us.”

The busi­ness sus­tained sig­nif­i­cant dam­age dur­ing Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Deb­bie, flood­ing twice and suf­fer­ing ceil­ing and fix­ture dam­age.

It was also af­fected by smoke and soot from the Can­non­vale Shop­ping Cen­tre fire that wiped out Tar­get Coun­try, West­pac Bank, Com­mon­wealth Bank, ANZ Bank, Marino's Deli, Glam­box Hair Stu­dio, Art Whit­sun­day and Ur­ban Vil­lage Home­wares in 2016.

De­spite these chal­lenges, the busi­ness per­sisted, thanks to the ef­forts of the stal­wart cou­ple.

“The busi­ness is only as good as the peo­ple who op­er­ate it and we’ve al­ways tried to be friendly and open,” Mr Fitz said.

“Judg­ing by the feed­back from the peo­ple who we serve in the com­mu­nity, it’s been fan­tas­tic, so we must have done some­thing right.

“We’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve got very fond mem­o­ries and have made a lot of good friends and ac­quain­tances.

“But we’re now look­ing to get to the long pad­dock and re­tire and we hope that the grass is green.”

Mr and Mrs Fitz will be leav­ing for Bris­bane in Oc­to­ber to be closer to their two daugh­ters and four grand­chil­dren, but Mr Fitz hasn’t ruled a re­lax­ing hol­i­day to cel­e­brate their re­tire­ment.

“Maybe a cruise where we can chill out and not have to get up at quar­ter to four in the morn­ing and get home af­ter six at night and get our beds made,” he laughed.

“That’s go­ing to be per­fect for us.”


FAREWELL: Rita and Peter Fitz are look­ing for­ward to re­tire­ment af­ter run­ning Can­non­vale News for 24 and a half years.

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