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End of an era . . . Lynley Irving will be sad to say goodbye to Maudies. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Owner-operator Lynley Irving is closing the doors of Maudies gift shop in Kurow after eight years. Reporter Tyson Young finds out why.

Q Where do you hail from, Lynley?
I was born in Winton and I lived in Invercargill.

Q How do you find yourself in Kurow?
It’s a long story. I came up here from Dunedin. I wanted to look for some land and the price of land here at the time was affordable. That was all in 2001.

Q What made you want to start up Maudies?
Well, Maudies is actually an accidental shop. I am an accidental shopkeeper. It started off with a little shop around the corner called Mrs Cook’s, which was a pharmacy depot. I was a pharmacist in Twizel and so therefore we needed a wee depot here to distribute medication. We ended up across the road for a while and then eventually over here. It evolved into this community business store and it happened to keep going.

Q Why have you chosen to shut up shop?
I feel that my time in retail is up. It’s a young person’s game – someone else can have a go at it. We’ve restored the back of this building to a dwelling. It’s an old building built in the 1890s, and it’s actually two buildings. One is the old colonial bank of New Zealand and the other used to be a general store. Recently, a lady came in and said she’d like to lease it and run a business. I thought I’d just move over and lease it.

Q What has it been like to be your own boss?
It’s difficult in some ways because you never have holidays, if you want them, and you don’t get sick days. But you’re not at someone else’s beck and call or someone else’s sarcasm. If you make a mistake, you can just give yourself a slap on the wrist and move on.

Q What do you like to do in your spare time?
I run my own orchard and I like to look after my animals. Mainly, I just like to potter away in my orchard.

Q If you could have a cup of coffee with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I’d like to meet Larry Williams from Newstalk ZB. I like listening to him – he’s direct and straight. He’s one of those people that’s sort of unusual in his own way.