By Jed Lanyon
Millgrove newsagency has closed its doors for the final time as owner Maureen Halit announced her retirement after 32 years of supplying the community with their favourite newspapers and magazines.
The Millgrove community came together to celebrate Ms Halit’s last day in business, a surprise she described as ‘mindboggling’.
“I was okay until I saw a couple of the customers who had come down and I knew what an effort it was for them to get here,” she said.
“I really respected everybody for putting the time in … You realise how much they appreciate what you do when they put that effort in.”
Ms Halit said she first started working at a general store in town at the age of 20, when there were just 48 houses in Millgrove.
She said closing newsagency has afforded her the opportunity to enjoy a sleep-in after years of 4am starts. She will now devote her time to family, in particular, her seven grandkids while also continuing as a house-sitter.
“I’m not one to sit still,” she said. Those words are evident as Ms Halit shares stories of how she would paint someone’s house or stain their deck while they were away.
“I once painted one lady’s kitchen while she was away and it was a nice surprise when she got home.
“The only thing wrong was I put some Christmas lilies on the table and she was allergic to them … She couldn’t get into her house. It was all pretty and done up but she couldn’t live in it.”
Ms Halit said her retirement will provide more time for her role in the Millgrove Residents Action Group, which she has been the chair since its inception in 2005.
“It has taken a lot to build it up (Millgrove) but it’s really improved now. We’re just one big happy family, it’s fantastic.”
She takes pride in MRAG’s involvement in a $200,000 grant which will see works to create walking tracks nearby the Yarra River.
Ms Halit thanks the community for their support and friendship over the years, as well as her family.