NEW ADVENTURE: Dews owner Vicki Bastin-Byrne is retiring, heading off on a caravaning adventure with husband Greg. Dews has been running in Rockhampton for 60 years.
NEW ADVENTURE: Dews owner Vicki Bastin-Byrne is retiring, heading off on a caravaning adventure with husband Greg. Dews has been running in Rockhampton for 60 years. Contributed

Much-loved Rocky store closes its doors after 60 years

WHEN Vicki Bastin-Byrne closes the doors of Dews for the final time on Saturday, it really will be the end of an era.

The store was founded six decades ago and has maintained a strong presence in the region since then.

But the sale of its current home on Derby St was a sign for Vicki that it was time for a new adventure.

Life without the business will be a complete change for Vicki, who grew up watching her parents run the store before taking on the challenge herself.

Jack and Anne Dew fell in love during their Second World War service with the RAAF, returning home to Rockhampton to start a family and buy a business together.

They transformed Boltons Drapery into Dews in 1956, a drapery and department store which boomed successfully in the days before chains like Target or Big W.

At one point they had stores in Allenstown, Wandal, North Rockhampton, and Yeppoon.

Vicki said her mother was ahead of her time, managing the stores and raising a family of three.

When Anne and Jack retired, Vicki and sister Pam Whyte took over, revamping the flagship Allenstown store as a boutique clothing outlet.

Vicki's husband Greg joined the business when Pam retired and the underwent another transformation, starting to specialise in homewares as well as clothing.

Seven years on, the timing is right for a whole new phase of life.

A West Australian caravanning adventure awaits, but the change is tinged with sadness as Vicki farewells the shop which has always been part of her life.

"We're really looking forward to a new adventure and a new era in our life," she said.

"Dews has been a fantastic business. It's been very good to us."

Selling the business was always out of the question for the family, who took pride in having their name above the door.

"It was just close to our hearts," Vicki said.

"We're very fortunate that our parents set it up in such a way that we could just carry on and keep the service going to our customers."

But there's been more to it than just luck, with the business' longevity resting in the family's ability to continually re-invent their store.

"I think that's the secret to running good businesses and keeping them going for the future is to make sure you do change with the times, diversify, make sure you keep up with what's happening," Vicki said.

"I think it's something you've actually got to do on a daily basis."

While she's only ever worked at Dews, Vicki has become a prominent figure in both Rockhampton and Capricorn Coast communities.

She served as a councillor for Rockhampton Region and Livingstone Shire councils for a total of 11 years, making an unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2007.

In 2003, Vicki was also the fist woman to sit on the Capricornia Credit Union (now The Capricornian) Board of Directors.

She has also held board positions with Rockhampton Girls Grammar School, the Iwasaki Foundation, and Capricorn Coast Tourist Organisation.

Vicki will always have fond memories of Dews and said she wouldn't stop being an important part of the Central Queensland community when her and husband Greg arrive back from six months caravanning.

"It's been a good life for me," she said.

"It's been a very steady income. I loved the fashion, to be able to go away buying and see the latest fashion.

"It was lovely to work with my sister for many years.

"I suppose it's great we've been able to have a family business and to have it go along smoothly for such a long time. It's been a great success story."