THE Tolland Newsagency will close on June 7 with the retirement of Bill and Elizabeth Byrne after more than 30 years in the industry.
“The lease is up and we just feel the opportunity is there to take retirement,” Mr Byrne said.
The Byrnes have sold the newspaper home delivery side of their business and other stock to the owners of the Topsy Turvey Newsagency, David Ritter and Julie Heath.
This week, Mr Ritter and Ms Heath are celebrating the first anniversary of buying that newsagency from Bill Byrne, his brother Tom and their families.
Mr Ritter said the additional paper deliveries from Tolland would more than double his current home delivery business and require an additional two staff to cope with the extra work.
The end of the Tolland Newsagency comes seven months after the closure of the Sturt Mall Newsagency. But Bill Byrne stressed his decision to close was based on wanting to put his feet up after more than three decades in newsagencies, not because he doubted their futures.
“It’s been a good living over the years we have been here,” Mr Byrne said. His brother, John, will continue to operate the South City Newsagency.
Mr Ritter said he recognised changes were afoot in his industry – including the possibility the owner of the NSW lottery business, the Tatts Group, may allow supermarkets to sell lottery products when a deal with the state government that gives newsagents exclusive rights to sell lottery products ends in 2018.
There are fears people will buy their lottery and lotto tickets from supermarkets, depriving newsagencies of up to 90 cent of their income. With that in mind, Mr Ritter said he and Ms Heath were expanding the newsagency’s business services, including adding a new partyware range.
“We decided there was a need in Wagga for an integrated range of partyware from invitations through to great cards and wrapping paper,” Ms Heath said. “We don’t want to be overly reliant on lotteries in this business,” Mr Ritter said. “I want it to be an aspect of the business, but I don’t want it to be the situation if we we lose lotteries we go out of business.”
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.