The Tenterfield Saddler shop has been closed since May but Tenterfield’s most famous building is set to be reopened next year, according to its owner.
Time might be a traveller but Tenterfield old-timers and residents were beginning to think the doors of the world-famous saddler might never open again – until owner Brian Meldon announced he planned to reopen the business next year.
A combination of factors had led to the setback in reopening, including some bad health in between work stages and a long recuperation.
The Brisbane-based owner bought the shop “on the spot” in 1995 after seeing an ad in a real estate magazine.
He already has a leather goods shop and believed the Tenterfield Saddler tag would boost business.
Most of the product range – from diaries to wallets and bags – was being made within a 400-kilometre radius but former employee Trevor Gibson also finally retired after a long stint in the Tenterfield shop doing repairs, making belts and the occasional saddle.
He expects to come to town next year and be the face of the western-style looking building which is such a tourist icon.
“Every town wishes they had a Tenterfield Saddler,” Mr Meldon said. “I’ll never let the saddlery slip, but I want to do it at my own pace.”
News of the reopening came in the wake of concerns and approaches to the entrepreneur from the local council, who had even discussed using volunteers to keep it open as a tourist attraction.