Quirindi without Reilly’s is a bit like Egypt without the pyramids, according to one resident – but this wonder of the retail world is no longer.
The three-generation institution closed its doors for the final time this afternoon after a warm gathering of people reflecting on many decades of friendship, business and philanthropy.
After 40 years at the helm, owner John Reilly will retire in Quirindi with wife Lorraine after a well-earned holiday in Sydney.
He is the third Reilly to run the George Street mainstay, following in the footsteps of his grandfather John Joseph – who opened the store in May 1911, and his father Frank.
Drought might have hastened the closure but it had been long-planned, with no descendants to take over.
The Reillys hosted a morning tea to mark the last day of trading after almost 108 years.
“There’s been people who have been coming here for four, five and six generations, and there’s people who are only new here … but they’re all deeply important,” Mr Reilly said.
“We’ve received wonderful messages over the last week or so, and we’re very grateful.”
One of the morning tea guests, local retired farmer John Carter, said he felt “very privileged” to be there.
His memories of the country outfitter stretch back to his childhood.
“You could guarantee that if you came into the shop when old Mr [JJ] Reilly was here, you’d buy something, even if it was a handkerchief,” he said.
“He was a great salesman and a benefactor to the community, and Frank and John have continued that.”
Local accountant Shirley Green said the store had “really been part of the community”.
“When you think of Quirindi and the retail sector, Reilly’s has been at the forefront,” she said.
“I’ve had clients who have lived here on farms, have retired to Tamworth and still come to Quirindi to shop at Reilly’s.”