Maurie the tool man of Bangalow market
ON THE fourth Sunday of every month, under the cover of enormous camphor trees, a bloke who could tell you a thing or two about hardware can be found selling his tools.
Maurie Beattie - of Horrie's Handy Handles fame - has become an institution at the Bangalow Market, having set up his first stall in the early days of the market in 1983.
“I sell a bit of everything. I can't say that I have a best seller - it depends because different people want different things. I might get a run on handles or a run on shovels,” he said.
Maurie, of Teven, has been collecting tools for as long as he can remember and said he started selling them as a way of keeping himself busy. He gets the tools - new and second-hand - from all over the Northern Rivers.
“Different characters might ask me to take a look at their tools because they're thinking of selling them. Sometimes they ring me and say that they're getting out of the business, so they put a price on what they have and I'll have a look,” he said.
Maurie is determined to compete against the bigger operators in the tool trade. He visits local hardware stores to check on prices.
“I have to be competitive in this business on at least the same level or just under the big stores like Bunnings. People don't tend to haggle with me because I fix a price on the tools and I know what they're worth,” he said.
Maurie has witnessed a lot of change at Bangalow over the years. He enjoys the diversity of the stallholders, who include artists and artisans, hippies and healers.
“I think the other stallholders are a wonderful bunch and that Bangalow Market is the best market around - it's simply superior to the others,” he said.
Now in his 80s, Maurie has no plans to retire. He is alone, except for a son, after his wife died 10 years ago. He said doing the markets gave him an interest and kept him young.
“Selling tools gives me something to do. I think it's important to remain active - it keeps you from going senile too quickly,” he said.
Maurie goes quiet for a moment and quickly adds, “I don't know why people like tools. Men handle tools all their life so they are attracted to them. I haven't got a favourite tool - they're all the same to me.”