By Martin Vedris
FRANKSTON: Less than a week after the news that Retravision Epping in Victoria was closing down, now Retravision Frankston is closing down.
After more than 25 years of trading in Frankston, the Retravision store there closed its doors for the last time at the end of October.
Following the passing of his business partner in May, the store proprietor for the past five years, Tony Ling, felt the time was right to move on. He had been an employee of the store for three years before buying the business.
“It just felt right,” said Ling. “I’ve been at this store for eight years now and its been a really tough time since my co-proprietor, Charles, passed away.
“Our lease in the centre of the city was up and with the new Power Centre opening out of the CBD there was a big decision to be made.”
Ling said that the new Power Centre development would be highly competitive with Harvey Norman, The Good Guys and Dick Smith Powerhouse stores all reportedly signing up for stores in the centre. Clive Anthony’s is reportedly locating its first Victorian store there as well.
“With the current climate … if I was going into that centre now I’d be very nervous,” said Ling. “You want to explode and do massive business in the first month, but it’s too big a risk.”
Asked whether this closure was a sign of the state of the Retravision group in particular and the economy, Ling said no.
“It’s purely a business decision,” he said. “When my partner had his motorbike accident and was killed in May, it kind of brought it all to a head. I decided enough was enough… I didn’t think I could take too big a risk on my own.
“We were working towards relocating, doing the finances, etc, but after Charles passes away, I wondered how big a risk I wanted to take myself. Investing 1.5 million — how long would it take to get that sort of return, not only in the current financial climate but the margin climate as well. It’s one of those decisions you make in your life to go and do something else.”
Ling had lived the employee’s dream of buying the business and becoming the boss and said that it was the right thing to do at that time.
“It was one of those dreams you have that you could do it as good as the boss or better. It was exciting, it was fulfilling and it has been a rewarding time over the past five years, we’ve sponsored different things, helped people out, employed some excellent people and dealt with excellent customers.”
As for his future, Ling said his immediate future is in winding the Frankston store down, but his longer term future is still somewhat uncertain.
“I am still winding the business up, there are still plenty of things to do for a while yet, but I will find somewhere to go. I’ve had other offers from other retailers and various job offers so I will decide what’s the best thing for myself and my family.”