Scene of many travel tales
FROM his office near the corner of Summerland Arcade in Lismore, Nicola Volpato, director of Travelscene Summerland Travel, has a unique view of the Lismore CBD and the travel industry.
As the owner of some of Lismore's most iconic commercial real estate, including the Star Court Theatre, he also has his finger on the pulse of the town's business heart.
Finally, having been the Italian Consul Correspondent for the region up until 2011 he remains very well connected with the region's large Italian population.
And in the course of supporting Lismore's older Italian citizens, Mr Volpato may be the only businessman in town who regularly uses a typewriter.
"Although my official role finished two years ago I still get requests for help from the Italian Consul's office in Sydney," Mr Volpato said.
"I still act as an unofficial intermediary for some older Italians living here in Australia who collect pensions from the Italian government," Mr Volpato said.
"So we do have an actual typewriter in the office, just for filling in forms and some letter writing for our older Italian citizens."
Mr Volpato's office started out as the Craigmoor restaurant in the 1940s before Mr Volpato's father, Floriano, took it over in 1958 and established Florian's Cafe.
Florian's was destroyed by fire in 1963 and the site was rebuilt as the Embassy Arcade with a new restaurant, Portafino, fronting Keen St.
At the same time Floriano built the AZA Motel opposite in Keen St and the Summerland Arcade in Molesworth St.
In 1971 Floriano closed the restaurant and established the original travel agency with Nicola joining the business in 1993.
Despite a general downturn in retail business since the GFC Mr Volpato's travel business remains buoyant.
"General retail trade is still very quiet and consumers are still being cautious," Mr Volpato said.
"But the dollar is strong at the moment which means the travel market is not as flat as it could be."