Oggs signal end of era

OTIS Ogg was only meant to stay at his parents' shop for three months to save the family business, but fell in love with it and stayed in Lowood for 30 years.

More than 100 faithful friends, family and employees of the past and present turned out for a joyous farewell party at the Ogg family's famous drapery last week.

Owner Otis Ogg said it was a great success and it was wonderful to see everyone there who had supported them through 64 years of business.

Mr Ogg said he was happy they are not having a closing down sale because new owner, Michelle Varley, is taking the reins.

“She is a local lass, locally employed and keenly established her life in this region,” he said.

Mr Ogg was born in 1956, with his twin brother Ken, and reminisced on the good times as he can even remember playing in the store as a child.

His twin, Ken, described the Ogg drapery as a family ‘dynasty' and a place to catch up on the history of the area.

“It is a connection to the town and he was like a psychiatrist with a sense of humour to talk to – a friendly genuine person,” he said.

Otis said his dad Tom Ogg was quite a character as well.

“He and my mother Elsie were both characters and led the charities, dancing and social aspect of the town,” he said.

“Tom fought at Milne Bay and they were lads, the next door neighbour fought on the Kokoda Trail – it was a wonderful generation of men."

Mr Ogg said Tom opened Ogg's Drapery in 1946 with a Christmas sale.

“He was a lot smarter than me. People reckon I've grown to look like him, but I can't say I've got more hair than him."

Mr Ogg said service was always at the forefront and a key to the store's success.

“The shop is based on the customers and we wouldn't be here without them; it is the friendship,” he said.

“When you support a local shop, you've built a little something.”

Mr Ogg said there is a proud history associated with the stool at the front counter.

“People don't just come in and buy something, they come in and sit down on the stool and talk,” he said.

“It is the role of a raconteur to have a yarn and be interesting. It is a symbol and a place to tell your story.

“It lasted from the 1960s right up until two weeks ago.

“A lot of kids sat on it when they were propped up by mum and still do.”

Mr Ogg started working at the shop when he was 25 after his parents were injured in a car accident.

“I had just returned from Melbourne after seven years and landed in Lowood, where I was born and raised,” he said.

New owner, Michelle Varley, took over on September 1 and has lived in the area for 23 years.

“We saw the opportunity to buy a great local business and took it,” Mrs Varley said.

She insisted that the shop's style wouldn't change and it was stay on as a traditional drapery.

“We will continue to stock work wear, Manchester, haberdashery, shoes, bags, luggage and hats,” Mrs Varley said.


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