Hurfords closes its stores
By EMMA O'NEILL
THE PEOPLE of Lismore could sleep in a bit longer when James Hurford bought the Lismore Mill in 1932.
Mr Hurford upgraded the mill from steam to electric when he bought it, ending the 7:30am whistle wake up call which rang out through the town.
During the next 75 years, three generations of Hurfords built up a milling, hardware and building supplies business. This week managing Director Rob Hurford and his son Andrew said goodbye to their Lismore and Ballina hardware stores.
The stores have been sold to JH & EJ Williams, another locally-owned family company.
Rob Hurford said that despite feeling sentimental about losing the stores, he was happy to sell to another locally-owned company.
"Bruce Williams is a good friend of mine and a lot of similarities can be drawn between our families," he said.
Andrew Hurford said the decision to sell the two stores wasn't motivated by a need for more fishing time, but to focus the company on milling.
The company will continue to operate the saw mills at South Lismore and Casino, the dry mill at Tuncester and the steel roofing division on Habib Drive.
A Hurford's employee of 42 years, Gloria Fairfull was shocked when Andrew told them the news in a meeting this week. However, he confirmed that many of the employees would stay on at the store with the new owner.
Mrs Fairfull said working at Hurford's was like being part of a family.
"After a fire destroyed everything at Hurford's in the 70's, builders came in to pay their bills, even though we didn't have their bill," she said.
Mrs Fairfull said this showed just how much locals respected the Hurford business.
Rob Hurford and his son Andrew will officially hand the stores over to the Williams family on November 1.
Rob Hurford is sad about the sale, but knew it was a decision which had to be made,
"Change is inevitable, but if you didn't have pluses for these changes, you wouldn't make them."