Kristy McGrath’s life has come full circle, from walking through the Fairy Meadow Newsagency to get home from school each day as a child to now owning the business.
The 31-year-old took ownership of the newsagency on 2 October from her bosses Nick and Kate DiMaggio, who have serviced the Fairy Meadow community for 16 years.
“I used to walk through here on the way home from school, so we used to walk through the shop,” Kristy said.
“I’ve always known people that have worked here, and it’s been part of my whole life. My sister had worked here before that as well.
“So much has changed, but it just always feels so familiar.
“Being able to walk through and walk out to the carpark and through to Guest Park, it just all still feels the same.
“It’s weird that it’s come full circle.”
The timing for handing over the business was also perfect for owners Kate and Nick.
“Kate started on the 1st of October 16 years ago, so it came full circle for her too, as it was to the day (of when she started),” she said of Kate’s final day.
Kristy started as an employee at the newsagency five years ago, after working in retail as a teenager and then transitioning into the childcare industry.
“I’ve just always been coming in as a customer and known Kate and Nick the whole time they’ve had it,” she said.
“Kate’s auntie and uncle had it before that for I think close to 20 years.
“I actually looked back into the history of the newsagency.
“It’s funny to see it, because I’ve got an old photo of it when it was down near where Cassa Mia, the bra shop, was.
“That’s the first place it opened in the 1950s.”
She said she was made aware of the photo of the original shopfront and its history after posting on Facebook seeking information about who had previously owned the newsagency.
Someone reached out to let her know it was their father who had been the original owner and provided her with the photo.
“It’s pretty cool to know it’s something that has just been here for so long and is part of the community,” she said.
Kristy said her love of working in the business and having a great team around her were what prompted her to want to own it.
She said while customers were disappointed to see Nick and Kate leaving, they were happy to know the staff were staying on.
However, while the Fairy Meadow Newsagency wasn’t changing too much, Kristy admitted newsagencies in general had needed to adapt over the years.
“Obviously, newspapers and magazines aren’t as big as they used to be – that used to be the core selling point of a newsagency,” she said.
“But you’ve got to change with the times too, so we’re going more into the giftware ranges and we’ve got balloons and kids toys.”
She said her plans were now to expand further into party supplies, offering products that weren’t available elsewhere in the area.
“The one thing that hasn’t changed is that community feel and all the regular customers still coming in every day,” she said.
“They may be changing what they’re buying but they’re still the same customers, and that’s the part that stayed consistent.”