Shop changes hands

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A popular Oamaru gift shop has changed hands for the first time in 21 years.
Tangibles has been a mainstay of the central business district under the ownership of Jill Wilson, who bought the business in 1995 from Sandy and Jol Squires. Now, she has sold it to the Squires’ niece, Rachel Hayes.
Mrs Wilson said the Squires had established the shop as an outlet for their pottery, which they fired in a kiln out the back. Then they added dried flowers, which she used to supply, and eventually expanded into a wider range of merchandise.
The stock has changed throughout the years to accommodate customers’ wishes and tastes, which Mrs Wilson grew to understand.
At first, she would be frantically busy at Christmas time, with children lining up to spend $2 on a selection of trinkets. They loved the fact that she was one of the first to gift-wrap purchases.
The arrival of chain stores offering bargain goods put an end to that, so Mrs Wilson focused on more up-market lines targeted mainly at adult shoppers.
“I knew all the customers’ names, because they all had chequebooks,” she said. The arrival of eftpos meant she still knew their faces, but not their names.
“We have really loyal regular customers.”Mrs Wilson and her husband, Alister, bought Tangibles when their daughters, Jo and Megan, were at high school. “It gave them work after school, and in all their varsity holidays.”The shop also provided employment for many of her nieces, Mrs Wilson said.
Mrs Hayes and her husband Murray, a builder, also have two children at secondary school. Brookelyn (15) is at Waitaki Girls’ High and Kaleb (14) at Waitaki Boys’.
Mrs Hayes, who previously worked at the Oamaru Silk Centre, has spent the last eight and a-half years working next door to Tangibles at Fotographix. She said she had always “absolutely loved” the gift shop.
She would mostly be in sole charge, and is keeping on part-time assistant Debbie Fluitsma.
Customers were pleased to learn the business had been sold to a person who appreciated it so much, Mrs Wilson said. She has stayed on this week to help Mrs Hayes take up the reins.
She would then spend more time looking after her grandchildren, running, and walking.
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