Ownership change, the first in 40 years

By Zoe McMaugh

It was almost 40 years ago that Alan and Pam Watters took over a local clothing retail business and established Watters Clothing in Deniliquin.

Now there’s a new local face at the helm, with Jordan Purtill purchasing the long-running and popular business.

She has been been learning the ropes from Alan and Pam over the last two weeks.

The official handover will take place next week, but Alan said he will stay on to mentor Jordan for as long as she needs him.

‘‘I will still be around in the shop for a little while to help with the transition, but I felt it was time to retire and look after myself,’’ Alan said.

‘‘It was a lucky strike that Jordan came along. 

‘‘Pam and I are happy the business will continue on in Deni and we’re proud it will be with someone local.

‘‘There would have been a massive gap in the retail sector if we did not find a suitable buyer.’’

With a degree in business and event and marketing through Latrobe University in Bendigo, it was always Jordan’s dream to own a business.

Between university and returning to Deniliquin, she honed another side of her business skills by working in advertising with McPherson Media in Shepparton.

‘‘I had always wanted to own a business, and I did have an underlying desire to go into fashion,’’ Jordan said.

‘‘I am terrible at drawing though, so I knew it would not be in design.

‘‘I was missing the atmosphere of being at home in Deniliquin — of being near the river and family and friends — so when this opportunity presented itself I had to go for it.

‘‘We’ll continue to stock the same lines and brands, and the inhouse embroidery will continue.’’

Alan and Pam started Watters Clothing in September 1980 after purchasing a boys and menswear business from Ken Deneys. Alan had previously managed that business for his predecessor.

‘‘Once we took over we expanded in the ladies’ clothing are and other items,’’ Alan said.

‘‘We’ve had a few locations in that time — next to Betta Electrical, across the road where the ANZ Bank now is, and then we moved to Napier St where Sacks had been located.

‘‘We moved here 17 years ago after the shop had been empty for a few years.  (Real estate agent) Lester Wheatley called me and said, ‘listen Alan, you need to be in this space’.

‘‘It took 12 months for us to rejuvenate the store the way we wanted it. One benefit was that it allowed us to expand the embroidery side of the business — we have three machines here now.’’

Having spent so many years in business in Deniliquin, Alan said it was hard to pinpoint any specific highlights of his journey.

‘‘There’s been a lot of up and downs — it all balances out really.’’