Old­est busi­ness in tough­est times

The Queensland Times - - NEWS - – Hay­den John­son

BE­HIND the counter of Ip­swich’s old­est busi­ness, Jef­frey and Val Vogler of­fer a win­dow into the his­toric change of Ip­swich’s re­tail en­vi­ron­ment.

Each day Jef­frey slips on a dress shirt and pulls his socks up; in a lit­eral way.

Val is the face of the store, greet­ing peo­ple with a warm but sharp fa­mil­iar­ity.

For 141 years CJ Vogler and Sons Hobby Shop has op­er­ated in Ip­swich.

Be­tween them, the pair is nav­i­gat­ing per­haps the store’s most chal­leng­ing time since open­ing in 1877.

“It’s very tough. It’s three weeks from Christ­mas and look out­side – there’s no one,” Jef­frey said.

The hobby store re­mains stand­ing at Top of Town on Bris­bane St as other stores fall around them.

“It’s just not the end of town for re­tail,” Jef­frey adds.

“We’ve got no cus­tomer flow, no foot traf­fic.”

While CJ Voglers is the old­est busi­ness in the city, 141 years of his­tory counts for lit­tle when it comes to lur­ing mod­ern con­sumers.

Few peo­ple are walk­ing the city-cen­tre pave­ment, de­spite Christ­mas be­ing weeks away.

“The in­ter­net is a thing that’s taken over and it’s had an ef­fect on how peo­ple go shop­ping,” Jef­frey said.

“Some peo­ple want to vis­ually see and hold things but oth­ers do ev­ery­thing on­line.

“The change to the world­wide-web has pushed Voglers onto the in­ter­net.”

They are lucky to own the build­ing and can avoid pay­ing high rent each month.

“If we didn’t have the build­ing, we’d be in trou­ble; we wouldn’t be here,” Jef­frey said.

The own­ers of the spe­cial­ist hobby store will keep fight­ing to keep their busi­ness open.

“It’s not like it used to be,” Jef­frey said.

“It’s one day to the next. “Some­day you might sell $10 and the next, $1000.

Val added: “Mon­day we might as well have not opened”.

The fam­ily hopes Ip­swich City Coun­cil will sup­port their busi­ness, but how is a point of con­tention be­tween the pair.

“We’d like to see some Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions,” Jef­frey said.

“That won’t do much,” Val chimes in.

“Help, just do some­thing.”

Photo: Rob Wil­liams

HANG­ING IN THERE: Val and Jef­frey Vogler talk about the state of the Ip­swich CBD.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.