Barlo’s bids adieu after 40 years

Jon SolmundsonGeraldton Guardian
Lynne, Juppy, Mac, Wendy Norris and Ashley Norwood.
Camera IconLynne, Juppy, Mac, Wendy Norris and Ashley Norwood. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Jon Solmundson

Geraldton Hunt & Fish Co is closing shop this year, but its owner has a bright outlook for Geraldton’s commercial future, and has a very good reason to be moving on up.

Ten years ago it dropped the “Barlo” name, but with 40 years serving guns, ammo, tackle and camping gear to Geraldton, many locals still call it Barlo’s to this day.

Owner Wendy Norris said it was a sad occasion for many people to see the business ending, although she was not necessarily one of them.

Mrs Norris said the funds generated by wrapping up the business and renting out the premises (interested parties have already made contact) would go into funding her’s and her husband Peter’s dream jobs on their farm on Mount Fairfax.

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“Our aim has always been to grow that farm, and this year our neighbour’s farm came up for sale, which is unusual, and we’d be crazy not to take that,” she said. “So we did, but something had to give... something needed to change.”

Mrs Norris said when she bought the shop 10 years ago it was the biggest fishing and camping store in Geraldton, but only a year later Getaway Outdoors opened, followed by BCF, and a shift in the market towards online shopping.

“Then the global financial crisis came... we rode every wave, but it wasn’t always fun. We had one fun year before the hard stuff hit us,” she said.

“But it’s all been very worthwhile... there’s been some amazing stuff, and amazing people in there.

“The team I have here now is as good as it gets, and it’s sad to see that break up.”

The last day of Hunt & Fish’s operations will be January 31, when the home butchery will be moved to Getaway Outdoors and the firearms, ammunition and gun cabinets hauled over to Independent Rural.

Mrs Norris said one of the best parts of devoting more time to farming was that she would be able to spend more time with her children.

“I won’t have this big-dollar business pulling me away needing end-of-month orders, Christmas, Easter, Father’s Day catalogues, it’s just constant, constant, constant,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that part, not having to say ‘get out of my office’ when they want to come and chat.

“For the most part it’s been a great experience, and I don’t regret it, but we had a dream… and to really make it happen is an incredible moment.

“My husband and I sat up on our new farm the other night, looking out over the ocean, the city, and we said ‘wow, we’ve done it’. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we’ve done it.”

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