Hunting, fishing shop closure will be 'sad'

Dunedin institution Centrefire McCarthy's will close its doors for good next week.

The hunting and fishing retailer has a history in the city dating back to 1848.

But managing director Selwyn Shanks said he was unable to find a buyer for the business and because of his health he was no longer able to run a seven-day-a-week operation.

``It is going to be quite sad,'' he said.

``A sadness that someone else hasn't picked it up and run with it.

``It's been a great life for me and it's done me well.''

The business would shut its doors for the final time on April 29.

Mr Shanks' involvement in the business dates back to 1987, when he bought a partial stake in Centrefire Sports.

In 1996 he bought out the remaining stake and in 1999 bought McCarthy's - a retailer dating back to 1848 - from liquidators.

``It's probably the oldest sports shop in Australasia.''

The support of the community was deeply appreciated and the human contact would be what he missed most.

``It's been quite humbling in the last six months the number of people that came in. Crikey, I have had a guy come in who 20 years ago bought his first rifle off me.''

The closure meant three jobs had also been lost.

``The decision to close the doors has not been easy and, despite rumours to the contrary, it is not due to declining sales or profitability,'' he said.

``The business has been on the market, but there is a real public fear that the small independent store has a limited future due to competition from chain stores and the internet.''

Instead the he was calling it a day because of his health.

``I have got six stents. I have just been diagnosed with epilepsy,'' he said.

``At 67 it's time to move on. There's a wee granddaughter in New York I want to visit.''

Despite the bricks and mortar days of Centrefire McCarthy's coming to an end, the brand would continue in an online presence. He would also continue to offer knife-sharpening and other hunting and fishing-related retail from a hawking truck.

``The name will live on in its own way.''


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