MARCIA Parry from popular Ararat gift shop Zest Living admits she has mixed feelings about her decision to retire.
Marce took over the business at the start of the pandemic from LeeAnne Slee and told the Ararat Advocate this week it was one of the best decisions of her life.
But in recent months, Marce has faced some health issues which has forced her to make the tough decision to sell .
“It has been a wild ride coming in just as the pandemic hit but thankfully I took it on with a bit of gusto and just said to myself I have to make a go of this.
“I’ve loved every minute of it and I was really welcomed by the community.
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“I was a local girl so it wasn’t so bad but I wasn’t known in the town because I had worked out of town for so long, but the community have been fantastic,” she said.
Marce said the business is continually changing to meet the needs and expectations of local customers.
“You really have to feel your way about what people want, what their expectations are and I just listened,” she said.
“You’ve got to keep up with the times,” she said.
Marce said a health scare forced her to re-evaluate her life.
“It was a hard decision but one I’m sitting at with peace. It’s just a matter of looking after me now,” she said.
“We’re not leaving the district. My husband has a business here and my son is now an apprentice at the business. I’ve also got all of my family here so we’re pretty entrenched.
“I’m going to miss the people the most. I just enjoy being in here,” Marce said.
The new owner of Zest Living is Sarah Hamilton, who officially takes over later this month.
Sarah has lived in Ararat for over 20 years and has a background in property management.
She told the Ararat Advocate she was looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“I love this shop and the position it has in the community. Everyone knows Zest is the place to buy a quality gift. Marce has built a very solid foundation,” she said.
“I’m really grateful for the support Marce has given me and the time she has taken has been invaluable,” Sarah said.
“There won’t be any big changes, it will still be a beautiful gift shop with free wrapping. I’m still practicing on the wrapping to bring it up to Marce’s standards,” she said.
Zest Living will change hands later this month.
The shop is open Monday to Friday from 9.30am to 5.30pm and Saturday 9.30am to 1pm at 148 Barkly Street Ararat.