Gracemere Traders traded

GRACEMERE businesswoman Linda Johnson is preparing for a new chapter in her life.

Linda and her husband Arthur have run the Gracemere Traders shopping complex for almost 30 years after they bought a block of land in the town's main street.

They built four shops and opened a fruit store before adding extensions and later running a furniture trading store.

But Arthur lost his fight with leukaemia last year and Linda has had to run the complex herself.

She said it had been a tough battle coming to terms with the loss and trying to run the store, so she made the decision to auction off the business on October 3.

Linda said it had been a huge part of her life for so long and was her late husband's dream.

“He loved it; he was a real salesman,” she said Wednesday.

“It's been hard for me to do it without him.”

The shopping complex first opened on November 11, 1980 with a doctor's practice, a chemist, a hot food shop and their fruit shop.

Linda said the only other shop in the main street at the time was a general store.

She said the fruit shop was a “gold mine” and the complex had been a fantastic family business.

“The shop just grew and grew,” she said.

“We had all six of our children work in the stores and I believe it's the reason they all have good jobs.”

Linda said the complex still contains the same hot food shop that was there when they opened.

She said a few years ago Arthur purchased some double bunk beds which he put into a store and was later offered money for them buy a customer.

“My husband said, 'There might be some money in this,' so we opened the furniture traders store,” she said.

Linda said the auction would be the end of an era for her and she didn't know what she was going to do once it was sold.

“I'm going to have to have a new beginning,” she said.

“I am just waiting for him to come down the laneway and into the store.

“I don't know what I'll do but I've decided I can't do it without him; I lost the desire for the store when I lost him.”

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