The Colonial Trading Company, opened in 2013 by Bruck Muench, closed its doors on Monday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
The closure of a quirky store in Featherston that sold everything from guns and ammo to candles and coffee beans has saddened the community.
The Colonial Trading Company [CTC] was opened on Fitzherbert St by Bruck Muench in 2013.
His store was unique, with its wide-ranging stock, including hardware and homewares, and customers would have familiarised themselves with his dogs, Winchester [now deceased] and Derringer, who were often spotted relaxing outside the store.
Mr Muench said an “economic downturn” had left him with no choice but to shut CTC, which closed its doors to business on Monday afternoon.
“It was a hard day,” Mr Muench said.
“We had people I’ve met attend and people I hardly know literally hugging me with tears in their eyes.”
He was “an emotional wreck” by the end of the gathering, describing it feeling like “a funeral for a close friend”.
“I thought no one was going to give a damn, but it was not the case.”
CTC was “kind of unique”, selling things that you could not get anywhere else in Featherston, or which were rarities in their own right, including old hand well pumps “that you’d see in an old cowboy movie”.
A typical sale could include “a firearm and ammo, a Scanpan pot, two bags of ground coffee, some Mexican hot sauce, and some weed killer – all going to the same family”.
Mr Muench said the business started to quieten down after last year’s general election.
It was “uncertain times”, he said, and people were being cautious with their spending.
He made a bunch of new friends through CTC.
“My lovely customers were just super, decent people, kind to a fault.”
Once the CTC dust had settled, Mr Muench was thinking of taking a detour from business into academia, and studying mechanical engineering.
“This is a watershed moment, and it happens very rarely in life where we have to change direction.”
He was “moved and overwhelmed” with the “embarrassing” number of well wishers, flowers, and bottles of wine and whisky that had come his way.
Featherston Community Board chairwoman Robyn Ramsden said CTC closing was “a disappointment” for the town.
She frequented the store for sewing supplies, knives, and children’s waterproof backpacks which didn’t leak.
Mrs Ramsden said Martinborough and Greytown had united business groups, and a strong business association would benefit Featherston.