WHEN Guy Marriott turns the key to close his business for the last time this afternoon, it will end around 40 years of association with the clothing store, but mark the next stage of his and his wife Colleen’s life – retirement.
Mr Marriott came to Kiama after being contacted by a school friend about a well-known local business, Ziems Menswear, who were selling their business.
It’s understood the business was established 94 years ago.
“A friend of mine from my kindergarten days was married to Kiama accountant Allan Hopkins’ daughter and Allan had asked him to see if I was interested - and here I am, more than 40 years later,” Mr Marriott said.
“I had been working in retail clothing for 18 years and was ready for a change and have never regretted it one bit.
Over the years the shop has changed its look somewhat, adding an awning 18 years ago and changing the name to Marriott’s Country Store to give the store a more country feel.
“We wanted to capitalise on the country side of our clothing – I think our strength has been that we are ‘different’ to a lot of other stores and we thought the idea of a country store in Kiama was a good look for the town.
Mr Marriott said the store has always prided themselves on the quality of their men’s and women’s fashions.
“We don’t do ‘fashion’ as such, we concentrate on classic, comfortable, quality clothing and it has been a winning formula, even being the only stockist of the famous Fletcher Jones’ brand outside their own stores.”
Mrs Marriott said the couple has been ‘overwhelmed’ by good wishes they have received from customers since they announced they were retiring.
“It is very, very humbling, we have had up to six to eight people a day coming in and wishing us well – we have made some wonderful friends and it will be very hard to close the doors,” Mrs Marriott said.
“We would like to thank the local community for their tremendous support over the years and in particular our wonderful staff – we really can’t thank them enough.
As for their future plans, the couple said they would take a while to settle down after all the hype.
“One thing is for sure, we will be staying in Kiama and take time to just enjoy the town,” Mr Marriott said.
“We love the rock pool and walking – something you don’t get enough time to do when you are working, while we will also be spending more time with our family and want to travel.”