Another chapter in the history of Stawell ended on Friday, June 5, 1987, when the business trading as 'George Mitchell and Sons' closed its doors for the final time.
The founder of the business, George Mitchell, came to Stawell with his parents in 1856, aged three months, being born in Sulky Gully near Ballarat.
In time, he became a prominent citizen of the Town.
He was a Councillor for the Stawell Borough for almost 40 years and was mayor on three occasions.
He also served on the Committees of the Presbyterian Church, Progress Association, Athletic Club, Mechanics Institute and the Stawell District Hospital.
Digging up the past:
Mitchell's business training commenced when he was 12, eventually leading him into the timber, ironmongery and general merchandise business of Mr Wright, whose business was located on a section of what is now Lyal Eales Stores.
After some years, Mitchell became a business partner with Mr Pawsey, which became 'Wright, Pawsey and Mitchell'.
The land on which the old George Mitchell and Sons building still stands was purchased in 1889, and the present building was erected then.
The building was occupied by Mr Sprague, who opened a drapery business.
The partnership dissolved after many flourishing years, during which Wright, Pawsey and Mitchell opened branches in Rupanyup, Ararat and Heywood.
At the same time, Mr. Sprague's drapery business next door failed, and in 1901, George Mitchell purchased the business and named the premises 'Victoria House'.
To assist with the running of the now flourishing business, Mitchell brought his three sons, William, David and Leslie, into the business to help him carry on the high tradition of honest dealing set by their Father.
Geo. Mitchell advertised his business as the speciality house for dress materials, costumes, millinery, underclothing, laces, gloves, haberdashery, manchester, linens, men's and boy's clothing and mercery.
Mitchells were one of the first to be connected to the telephone system in Stawell.
Up until automation, the telephone number was Stawell 2.
Few people would remember the cash-carrying system in the store, which was also a feature of similar stores of the era.
Cash carriers were used in shops and department stores to carry customer payments from the sales assistant to the cashier and to return the change and receipt.
In Mitchells, it was a mechanical system suspended between the walls in which gravity helped propel the cash-containing metal pods along a series of wires.
An extract from the 'The Stawell News and Pleasant Creek Chronicle' on December 12 1911, said, "In the most commodious and attractive showrooms of Mr George Mitchells Drapery will be found the most up-to-date goods on the market. The showroom is fully stocked with the most modern apparel".
The menswear department closed down in 1962, and the area was used to extend the lady's showroom. The building still lives on 134 years after it was built, and since Mitchells closed down in 1987, there have been many different tenants.
It is now occupied by Sneek a Peek Clothing and Linda's Cottage Country.
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