AFTER 21 years on Commercial Street, Nick and Sandy Cirakovic closed the doors on Korumburra Video & Discount Smokes for the final time last week, saying it was simply “time to go”.
The Cirakovics won’t be leaving Korumburra, but they’ve cleared out the shop, including over 6000 DVDs, and sold the remaining components of the business, including the Tobacco Station, to Des Fitzgerald at the newsagency next door.
“It’s exciting but it’s scary to be going,” said Sandy last week, as she and Nick recalled fond memories of all the staff and customers who’d come through the shop over the years.
“We’ve been trying to work out roughly how many people we’ve employed in 21 years and it would have to be over 50. At one stage I think we had 18 [casual] staff, and just seeing them grow into young adults, and have the confidence to speak to strangers and deal with different situations, I think that’s probably the best experience.”
“We’ve really enjoyed the business and meeting the people,” said Nick, a former highway patrol officer.
“When I was working in the police force, you’d get up, you’d put the uniform on, you’d go to work. In the shop here though it wasn’t a case of ‘going to work’. You’d get dressed and you’d pop up to the shop for a while. It didn’t seem like work. It was just a social day out every day. You talk with your customers and you have a yak. It’s been really good.”
The shop’s seen plenty of changes over the 21 years, from the phasing out of VHS tapes and the introduction of DVDs, to the shifting landscape of Commercial Street, and a new demographic of customers with vastly different shopping habits.
“The town’s growing and a lot of people are working in Melbourne and living here so unfortunately a lot of their shopping is done in Melbourne while they’re at work, which is understandable but it doesn’t help the local businesses,” Nick said.
“And the next generation coming through, they’re quite happy to sit there and play on screens rather than walk up the street and find some entertainment. So that changes the look of the street and the town as well,” Sandy said.
“You just don’t have the people walking around the streets anymore. There aren’t the people out there on weekends anymore either. And I think fuel prices have a lot to do with that.”
The Cirakovics have done their best to adapt to all these changes, and say the store’s closure is not another case of ‘Netflix killed the video shop’ as some might assume.
“Despite what you read in the papers and see on telly, all video stores aren’t dead. There’s quite a lot that are doing ok, particularly in country towns, including this one,” Nick said. “We still had people joining up [as Network Video members] the last weekend.”
“It was just time to go. We put it on the market about three and a half years ago and [found that] people don’t want to invest in businesses in small towns anymore, so rather than wait for it to sell as an entity, we just sold components of the business to other businesses within the town. We decided to do it now because there’s health issues involved that are going to have to be addressed and we can’t do that while we’re in the business,” he said.
“I’m sad that the shop is closing. We both threw in careers to come into here so we knew we were here for the long haul, and it’s been a very good business to us. But we have to do what’s right for us,” says Sandy.
So, what’s next for the Cirakovics? According to Nick, it’s time to “be retired, put [their] feet up and smell the roses!”
Nick looks forward to getting into his shed and fixing up old cars, while Sandy is just happy to work on not waking up at 4.30am every day.
“We’d just like to thank our staff and all of our loyal customers for their support over the years. It’s been fantastic and a lot of them have become friends and we will miss them. It’s been much appreciated,” Nick said.
Saying goodbye to a Korumburra institution