MINYIP'S Millford Stores is changing hands after 31 years.
Anthony "AJ" and Karen Niewand will hand over the keys to the town's supermarket to Avoca couple Luke Cox and Cassy Jenkinson on October 21.
Anthony's parents John and Ellen Niewand bought the supermarket in 1988 after selling the family farm.
"Our family had farmed there for three or four generations," he said.
"We borrowed money and had some fairly lean years so thought we'd get out of the farming business while we had a bit of equity.
"There was a drought in 1983, but we had frosts and heavy rains that upset the quality of the grains."
John and Ellen handed over the ownership of the supermarket to Anthony in 2007 due to health reasons.
John died in 2013, while Ellen lives at Dunmunkle Lodge.
"Mum's fine with us selling it; she knows how old I'm getting," Anthony said.
Anthony said the customers were his favourite part of working at the supermarket.
"It's the people that makes it great and definitely not the 13 hours on your feet every day for 31 years," he said.
He said he loved Minyip and its community.
"Minyip has soul. It's a paradise - we have no bushfires, no floods, and you only get the occasional drought," he said.
"You can also give your kids five bucks and tell them to get a bottle of milk from down the street, and if there's any money left they can buy a lolly.
"Kids are safe here and have freedom.
"The community has been great supporters of us which has been much appreciated.
"There are so many people that you see everyday."
Minyip has been without a petrol station since April 2018. Anthony said he was initially worried that it would affect business at the supermarket.
"People were still supportive of us, though," he said.
"They might have to go out of town for petrol, but they'll come here to do their grocery shopping. It's had a minimal impact on us."
Karen said her favourite aspect of the supermarket was being a central part of the Minyip community.
"We've been able to see all the children grow up and then bring in their own children," she said.
"Being able to provide a service to the community has always been important to us.
"It will be hard not seeing our customers everyday. We'll also miss the camaraderie of the community - we always started the day with a laugh.
"We appreciate the support from the community and feel privileged to have been a part of the community."
New owners Luke Cox and Cassy Jenkinson approached Anthony and Karen with an interest in purchasing the supermarket.
"We'd been thinking about selling, but hadn't advertised it," Karen said.
"We were very tired and this kind of work takes its toll on your body.
"We wanted to enjoy the rest of our working life with less stress and pressure."
Anthony and Karen said they didn't plan on retiring from work just yet, but would take a well-deserved holiday.
"We're not sure where to yet, but the new cabins at Murtoa are looking nice," Anthony said.
They will continue to live in Minyip after handing over the keys.
"It will be odd being on the other side of the counter when we buy things," he said.
"We haven't know Cassy and Luke very long, but we have a feeling that they're going to fit right in."
Luke and Cassy live in Avoca with their three children - Chad, 8, Ollie, 5, and Quinn, three weeks.
Luke is originally from Ararat, while Cassy is from Glenthompson.
Cassy said the family had always dreamed of owning a supermarket in a regional town.
"We'd been looking for a supermarket for some time and struggled to find a nice regional store," she said.
She said Minyip and its supermarket had caught their attention.
"There's a really nice country feel here and a great community," she said.
"We're looking forward to meeting the locals and introducing our family to the community."
Luke has worked in supermarkets previously, including at Woolworths.
"It's been a dream of mine to own a supermarket forever," he said.
"We have just come off a two-and-a-half year stint managing a supermarket in Avoca.
"I've come to Minyip to play football in the past, but that's about it."
He said the family wouldn't be making too many major changes to the supermarket.
"You don't want to upset the locals by changing things around," he said.
"Tradition can be good. However, we do have some plans in mind of what we'd like to do in the store to make it more modern."
They will commute from Avoca every day to Minyip - a three-hour round trip.
"I drive for work already, doing contract work for Tip Top - so it's not a big deal for me to do a 300-kilometre round trip each day," Luke said.
He said the family would consider moving to Minyip sometime down the track to be closer to the supermarket.
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