SHOP LINE-UP: Kaye Pattrick (left) with her mother Beryl Beohm who is 100 years old, and current shop owner Sam Virtue with her.
SHOP LINE-UP: Kaye Pattrick (left) with her mother Beryl Beohm who is 100 years old, and current shop owner Sam Virtue with her. Northern Star/David Nielsen

Corner store rings up 50 years

WHEN Beryl Beohm built the East Lismore corner store in 1958, dairy cows were still grazing on the future site of Southern Cross University.

Mrs Beohm sold her own dairy farm and milk run to buy the land, on which her son built the store and adjoining house on Nielson Street.

The business woman ran the shop until 1969 with part-time help from her three youngest children, the other seven having already grown up and moved out.

Now 100 and living at Caroona Nursing Home, Mrs Beohm returned yesterday for a party celebrating the shop's 50th anniversary, organised by current owner Sam Virtue.

Mrs Virtue, who has owned the shop for three years, said she believed traditional corner stores had a bright future.

“With the way inflation is going now, people will be cutting back on costs and walking to their local store. People are coming back to their corner store,” Mrs Virtue said.

Mrs Beohm's daughter, Kaye Pattrick, said she had great memories of living and working in the shop, which was the focal point of the community.

Elaine Smith, who owned the shop with her husband Barry from 1977 to 1983, said whoever ran the shop became the local social worker.

“You heard lots of problems but you had to keep your mouth shut,” she said.

“A lot of corner stores were built when people didn't have cars so they were a social hub, a very important part of the community.”

Beryl Butler, another former owner of the shop, said she loved all the kids coming in looking to buy their bags of mixed lollies.

Mrs Pattrick said corner stores were still able to thrive and be a big part of the community if they moved with the times.

She said when she was a girl, drainage around the shop was confined to open ditches, but the area moved ahead under the hand of developer Harry Nielson.

Drainage viaducts were built, which stopped flood waters entering the shop, and houses sprang up nearby.

Mingling at the party, Mrs Boehm seemed to take her role as pioneer of the business all in her stride.

“You have to work hard if you want to get anywhere in life,” she said.



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