Hidden beneath the floorboards of Dale's IGA and Liquor in Henty lies a treasure trove of artefacts.
The packed cellar is a snapshot of a budding town. Along crowded shelves sit humble items that tell the history of Henty's development - a jinker used as town's first ambulance, the ornate old manual phone switchboard and a small wicker chair atop a scale on which many of the town's occupants were once plonked to be weighed as infants.
But the collection is an also extension of the collector, Les Dale.
It tells the story of a young boy growing up by gas light delivering milk by horse and cart, who became one of the town's most well known figures.
For decades Mr Dale, 87, has been a fixture of the small town and in no small part responsible for its ongoing prosperity - though he modestly underplays his achievements.
This coming Monday marks 60 years since Mr Dale, and his late-wife Mary, first started their grocery business in the main street.
The octogenarian's health might be faltering, but he still works manning the hardware store and has no plan to retire.
The Dale name is synonymous with Henty, with Mr Dale and his children owning much of the main street - Dale's IGA and Liquor, Dale's Hardware and Dale's Electrical Centre.
His brother Edward's family owns the funeral parlour, and until recent years Dale's HyWay Store which was sold by Les Dale to his brother.
"We took care of the Henty residents for a long time, from birth to death, right from the milk run through to the funeral," Mr Dale's daughter Narelle Morey said.
But Mr Dale's legacy begun modestly in 1953 with a 3.6 metre by 4.8 metre (12 foot by 16 foot) building by the highway.
As a teenager, Mr Dale delivered the town's milk and recognised the need for a milk bar in town.
So with very little money and even less experience he built the first store in town that stayed open until 9pm.
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When Mr Dale, then-20, started his first business it was illegal to sell groceries on a Sunday, after 5.30pm on a weekday, or after 12pm on Saturdays.
"We were constantly in trouble with the inspectors," he said.
"We eventually installed large Masonite doors set out about 600mm out from the shelving, just enough room to sneak behind the screens to get a grocery item for our customers."
But Mr Dale wasn't the only one sneaking around.
"Drink bottles had a return value, beer bottles of two-pence a dozen and soft drink bottles a sixpence each," Mr Dale said. "As I had no storeroom I stacked the returns near my back door, but it didn't take long for the young kids to wake up and pinch my bottles from the back door and bring them around into the store and cash them in again."
To supplement his income during the first few years of business, Mr Dale played in a dance band which performed at balls and dances across the region.
Soon the accordionist met Mary Fisher of Browns Plains, the belle of many balls.
The pair wed in 1959 and worked side-by-side for 59 years until Mary died in 2018.
"Mary said she had a good life and if she had it all over again there's nothing she would change, not even her husband," Mr Dale laughed.
"We didn't argue, we got along very well together because we thought alike and we'd talk things out."
Mr Dale left school early, though boasts he always finished first or second in the class (of two students) but Mrs Dale went on to high school so took over the book work.
"She often said her only reward was the privilege of sleeping with the boss," Mr Dale said.
As the store developed, so did the goods it sold.
In the early days of the store, if they wanted ice cream residents had to bring their own billy for Mr Dale to fill.
Then the treat began coming in cardboard coated blocks, which melted if you got stuck talking to neighbours for too long, before manufacturers turned to tin and eventually plastic containers.
"It's hard to believe," Mr Dale said.
"To me it doesn't seem all that long ago you couldn't buy ice cream unless you brought your own container."
A few years after opening, the highway store became the region's first drive-in milk bar when a car lost control and plunged into the store.
It was then the Dales, with one-year-old daughter Narelle, made the leap across to Sladen Street to take over the grocery, liquor, hardware, gift and toy departments from the Harcroft family.
The store was the first self-service store between Albury and Wagga, where customers picked out their own groceries rather than giving shop-workers a list.
Residents bought their own glass jugs from home to be filled from the 60 gallon wine casks, and the store ran under the motto "if you don't see what you want, ask for it. If we haven't got it, we'll get it", which led to some unusual requests.
"A young fellow courting a relative came in and asked for a pink elephant," Mr Dale said.
"I said 'you've got to be joking', he said 'no you have a sign on your wall [with] your motto ...'
"I just thought you smart arse, you."
A few weeks later, Mr Dale presented a miniature pink elephant to the man on his wedding day - free of charge.
Later the store moved into its current location, before Dale's Hardware was established next door, and Dale's Electrical a few doors down.
The family businesses are now managed by his children, and three generations of Dales work side-by-side at the IGA.
"I'm happy to see it continue, it's like an empire I've started and I'm happy to see it continue on," he said.
The IGA has recently undergone renovations "to bring it into the 21st century" Mr Dale said, and the new entrance will be celebrated alongside the store's 60th birthday on Monday.
The store still offers credit to long-term customers some of whom have been customers for half a century, and the family remain active members of the community, inside and outside the store.
Like the museum below the main street, Mr Dale is a keeper of Henty's history.
He's witnessed the introduction of electricity to the town and the move from horse and carts to cars.
The children caught nicking his glass bottles are adults now, senior citizens.
From behind the counter he's watched generations of children grow up to have children and grandchildren of their own.
And, in turn, the town watched his own children grow from babies in a store playpen to managers.
Ms Morey said the celebration of the IGA's 60th year would also be a celebration of her father's long career and the town's history.
"I'm very proud of what he's done," she said.