After 94 years of serving the New England, Philip and Jennifer Hanna, together with general manager Gerard Hanna and the entire Hanna family have made the decision to close Hanna’s Department Store. A closing down sale will commence on 30 June 2015.
After being ‘New England’s own’ for 94 years, change is coming to Armidale please tell us in your own words Gerard.
“It has been an honour and a pleasure to serve the New England and the Armidale community over the past 8 years. To be a part of a fourth generation family business that has been in existence since 1921 has been a privilege. For me, Hanna’s is an institution, and it’s with a heavy heart that I see this chapter in my life close.”
Philip Hanna commented ‘This is a sentimental moment for our entire family. Four generations steeped in tradition along with a long standing affinity with the Armidale and New England community. The decision to close Hanna’s came as there were no family members wanting to embrace retail as their career of choice.’
This decision must have been huge; why have you made this decision now?
“Over the past year my life has changed considerably. I married in September last year, and we’re now expecting our first baby, with these life changes my wife and I evaluated our future, from a career and personal perspective. We have made the decision to relocate from Armidale.”
“Closing Hanna’s has been one of the toughest life decisions I’ve made, especially as the business’ credentials are very healthy, and our relationship with suppliers reaches new heights every season. Our personal service and customer relationships are what our business is built on. For me this is the part that weighed heaviest on the decision to close. Armidale will lose the personal service that we strive so hard to provide each and every day.”
This is a decision for the future, at a juncture in general manager, Gerard’s life. Despite all the goals achieved, and improvements made at Hanna’s, Gerard tells us that this was a decision that included factors of lifestyle, opportunity, change, personal challenge and investment. “I have wanted to pursue other opportunities further afield from retail and the best timing for this has come now.”
Who would you like to thank?
“Our family would like to pay tribute to our staff both past and present, who have worked at Hanna’s, served the community and treated the business as their own. They have shown honesty, integrity, support and friendly service every day. It has been a pleasure to work alongside people who are considered to be part of our extended family. A special mention goes to our current staff members Jenny Haydon, Ali Lockyer and Jess Haydon who have been managing growth and development programs in their departments. I would also like to thank Deb McMahon for her hard work and special role in our workplace and all our other staff members. We would also like to thank our many loyal customers over the years. They have shown endearing support and encouragement to both our business and our family.
Tell us some of the families most treasured memories over this time?
Some of our most treasured memories at Hanna’s come from my great-grandfather and grandfathers era. During the depression customers were able to buy food and clothing from Hanna’s with personal accounts. They were given up to three years to pay their accounts. It was here that our loyalty, traditions, commitment to customer service and to the people of the New England began.
Similarly wool growers, in times gone by, were paid annually via a wool cheque. They were given 12 months credit on their purchases. It is these people together with their families who have been loyal customers for generations and some of whom are still shopping at Hanna’s today.
More recently we have shared wonderful experiences being part of local fundraising and charity events. The annual Can Assist Melbourne Cup luncheon in Uralla has been a highlight along with Fashions On The Field at the Armidale Cups and St. Albert’s College race days. We have also enjoyed assisting the St. Marys Revue, local school fundraisers and various other charity events. We have always done our best to give back to the community both financially and with our time and participation. It’ll be a sad goodbye, but we know this is the right decision for our family.
To mark the end of an era Hanna’s will commence their closing down sale on 30 June, with 40% – 80% off all stock.