Peter and Rita off to retirement
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.