Former business owner walks down the memory lane
VICKI Bastin-Byrne has fond memories of Allenstown, growing up in her parents shops and frequent visits to the Dairy Queen.
Vicki’s family have run businesses in the Allenstown for 61 years, with her parents Jack and Anne Dew founding Dews Drapery Centre.
“It was marvellous, mum was very involved with the business so my father used to pick me up from school at Central Girls,” she said.
“I would go back to the shop and go down to the Dairy Queen and get an ice cream after school.
“I started helping out of a Saturday morning.
“Everyone knew one another and it was a “very friendly environment”.
“Most people in those days shopped in their local areas, they didn’t go into East St often, back in the 50s and 60s, a lot of women didn’t drive cars.”
Reflecting on how the area has evolved over the years, Vicki said it has “changed dramatically”.
“All the historical shop fronts have gone,” she said.
She remembers her Dad dressing the shop window on a Saturday because people would be walking past that night to go to the Embassy Theatre.
There was the grocery store Manahans, a post office, hairdresser, newsagency and of course, the Dairy Queen.
She remembers when the main shopping centre was built with Woolworths.
But change is inevitable and Vicki is well aware of that.
“As time went on and multi-nationals came in, we got out of drapery and just had ladies clothing and lingerie and some children clothing,” she said.
“The reason we did survive so long was because we did change with the times …. You have to.
“It’s nice to keep the history but in a fast changing retail world you really have to move with the times if you want people to keep shopping there.”
The last store, Dew’s Fashion and Homewares, was in was on Derby St, next to the Allenstown Square.
Vicki ran the store with her sister, Pam Whyte, and later Vicki’s husband, Greg, joined before they closed it in 2017.
The house turned shop has since been demolished in the last couple of months after shopping centre owners Charter Hall bought it in 2016.
“It’s a bit sad but it is progress, things are changing,” Vicki said.
Vicki isn’t sure what will go in there at this stage as Charter Hall has been very tight lipped about their plans.
“It’s always been a fairly successive shopping centre, an expansion will work, retail is changing,” she said.
“I would like to see something that would enhance the suburban area of Allenstown.”
“Maybe more food opportunities.”
Vicki and her husband Greg are now retired at Yeppoon and spend their time travelling, spending time with their grandchildren and catching up with friends.
“I love being retired, I wonder how I had time to work,” she said.