Fran Cummings with staff members (from left) Tamlyn Dalton, Gary Walker, Jamie Wilson and Joshua Dooley.
Fran Cummings with staff members (from left) Tamlyn Dalton, Gary Walker, Jamie Wilson and Joshua Dooley.

Icon electrical store to close

The family-owned Cummings Retravision electrical store has been an institution in Byron Bay’s main street for more than 35 years.

But it all comes to an end on Saturday, July 10, when, for a combination of reasons, including rising costs and slimmer profit margins, the doors will close for the last time.

Permanent staff at the store will be absorbed into the family’s other stores in the region and after renovations are completed, the shop is expected to reopen as a pharmacy.

Elton Cummings, who worked in the store when it first opened, said to keep moving forward, the store had to get bigger to produce a higher turn-over, something that wasn’t possible on the Jonson Street site.

Also, said Mr Cummings, the costs involved in running the store, including land tax, rates and other ongoing costs, were jumping.

“The sums made it harder to work,” he said.

“From a family point of view, it became better capitalisation of our assets to rent it out.”

Another major problem, said Mr Cummings, was access to the store, with parking in the town a major problem.

He said more and more people were shopping at their other stores because of easier access.

“People just can’t park here,” he said.

Mr Cummings said the ‘shape’ of the electrical appliance industry had changed and was under attack from ‘so many areas’, with retailers, other than electrical stores, selling a range of appliances.

“It’s a challenging time for retail,” he said.

“I’m not saying the challenge can’t be taken on, but this particular model will not serve our family interests, or our model for a long-term sustainable electrical business for this town.”

Elton’s sister, Fran, a familiar face behind the counter and who eventually will head off to the Ballina store, said she would miss the Byron Bay store.

She said she loved working in Byron Bay and ‘cruising’ around the town and walking along the beach in her breaks.

Over the years, the family has been a great financial supporter of a host of causes in the town including charities and sporting clubs.

But while an era might be coming to an end in the Byron Bay CBD, there is still a chance the family will reopen elsewhere in the town if suitable premises can be found.

And if the rent is right.

“We have left our options open,” Elton said.

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