The other week I dropped past Hattams in Elsternwick, where I worked part-time as a teenager. Had a good long chat with Ian, who runs the store now. Hattams is a family business, started in 1879. They’ve had clothing stores at various places around the state, with their last two (for the past few decades) at Hampton and Elsternwick.
Over the years the stores have been handed down through the generations, with in many cases the kids taking on the interests of the parents. Sometimes it happens in other industries too — Brian Henson is in town at the moment, having followed his father Jim into the puppet business.
But at some point, the tradition ends, if the kids take on other interests and don’t want to follow on from their parents. In the Hattams’ case, the kids aren’t that impressed with the long hours of small-business retail, and have gone into other things.
Richard, who runs the Hampton store, is reaching retirement age, and it’s uncertain what may happen. Ian is a fair way from retirement, but if both of them eventually retire and close-up shop, a long history of small-business retailing may draw to a close.