Modern new hardware store opens
In 1951, on the site of the present Atelier Gallery, a Sydney man purchased a hardware store. It was his first type of business and as he says: "I didn't know a screw from a nail".
Now, eighteen years later, Dick Gentle opens extensions which will make his hardware store one of the biggest and best appointed on the coast.
After buying out Les Crisp's hardware store in 1951, and running the business with one employee, he built up the business to a stage where he was forced to find larger premises.
In 1958, he bought a garage owned by Joe Lee and converted it into a hardware store. This is his present store.
In 1967, with his eyes still on the future, he purchased the old Civic Hall which stood next to his own business. It is the old hall building, almost unrecognisable after the extensive renovation it has received, which will open on July 1st.
Mr Gentle came to Port Macquarie originally on holidays and, liking what he saw of the town, investigated the possibility of setting up in business.
The only business for sale was the hardware store owned by Mr Les Crisp. One of the original staff from Crisp's, Keith Klumpp is still with Gentle's Hardware.
The extensions have yielded an extra 3,800 sq.feet of shop and storage space. About half of the area has been turned into a tastefully decorated store, full of all types of hardware.
The old galleries, stage and lounge of the theatre have been utilised as storage space. An unusual feature is the attractive wall-paper ceiling. Other features such as an inter-com is linked to all parts of the store.
For Mr Gentle the $25,000 extension is just another step in the advancement.
Forceful tourism campaign
Tourist promotion had paid big dividends for St Kilda and could do the same for Port Macquarie because the town had tremendous natural advantages as a tourist resort that would stand up to forceful promotion.
This was stated on Saturday night by the mayor of St Kilda, Cr John Staughton who was replying to an address of welcome tendered him at a civic reception, held in his honour, by the mayor of Port Macquarie, Ald C.C. Adams.
Staughton said his council's budget for its first year of tourist promotion was $30,000.
He was staggered to discover the Municipal and Shire councils here, between them, only provided $3000.
Cr Staughton said you will never succeed if your publicity is on a penny-pinch basis. "To be effective a public relations program has got to be foreceful."
Cr Staugton said results had been so rewarding that his council felt it had got a tiger by the tail and was afraid to let it go.
"A unique feature of Port Macquarie is its clubs and the friendliness and hospitality to be found there, and the way they make visitors honorary members.
"It would be a wonderful way to swell your tourist promotion budget if clubs charged a dollar to issue a visitor with an honorary member's card and gave this sum to your Tourist Authority, " he said.