Hole in city's heart
THE curtain will come down on 93 years of history when Big Whites shuts its doors for the last time today.
Owner Jason White announced mid-way through last month that a dramatic drop in business had left him no choice but to bring to an end the family dynasty that began with his great-grandfather John.
Over the past six weeks, Mr White has desperately been trying to sell off as much of the remaining $250,000 worth of furniture as he could.
As a result, the old shop is now looking a little sparse - but there are still some great bargains to be had for last minute customers.
An estimated $15,000 to $20,000 in stock remains.
The shop will be open from 8am to noon today.
"Every second person that has come in has told us how sad they are that we are closing up," Mr White said.
"They have all been asking us why it is that we can't stay."
Apart from the owner, only three staff remain with the furniture business, including store assistant Louie Mirallez and two truck drivers.
Ms Mirallez, who has been in the job for six years, said she was sad to have to leave it behind.
"The White family has been great to me," she said.
Mr White began working at the store 22 years ago, but took on more responsibility after his father, John White, was involved in a car accident about six years ago.
Mr White blamed heavy competition from outlets that stocked cheaper, predominantly foreign-made products.
His father John, grandmother Mona and uncle Peter will be at the store on Saturday to speak to and thank customers one last time.
"Everyone has been asking how Nan is going," Mr White said.
"This will be their chance to see."