Marburg stages a fond farewell to Dat family
AN EMOTIONAL farewell has been held in Marburg for the Dat family who had operated the Marburg General Store and Newsagent for an impressive 26 years.
Nguyen Dat (known fondly as 'Dat') and his wife Myle have been trying to sell the corner store since 2007.
The couple said although they were ready to retire, they were sad to leave now the time had finally come.
"I've loved the community, the people of Marburg," Mr Dat said.
"They are friendly and have always supported us.
"When we first came to Marburg, I thought we'd stay for three to five years and move on but the people here were so friendly so we decided here would be a good place to raise our family."
Mr Dat came from Vietnam with a scholarship to study engineering at the University of Queensland at St Lucia. After graduating he met his wife Myle and had children Anthony and Mylyn.
The couple took over ownership of the general store in May 1988 and said they "fell in love with the place".
Mr Dat said he was happy to retire but 26 years' worth of habits might be hard to break.
"I usually start between 4.30am and 5am every day, even on public holidays," he said. "I don't think my body will ever get used to sleeping in."
The couple said they would miss regular interactions with their customers the most.
"We have made a lot of friends in Marburg," Mr Dat said.
"When I first came to Marburg, some of our customers were just little and now they have families of their own.
"Being here this long, you get attached to the community and the town."
Marburg and District Residents Association secretary Wendye Gratton helped organise the traditional "bring a plate" afternoon tea for the Dats.
"Residents of Marburg have got used to the Dat family running the store, but realise that it has been full-on for so long and realise that they deserve to retire," she said.
"Marburg is a close-knit community and the store had provided a much-needed service in the town.
"Because they had run the store for so long, they had become an important part of the community and we felt it important to give them a farewell to show how much they were appreciated."
Mr Dat said the family was touched by the show of support from the Marburg community.
"It was a great honour for our family to have such a large gathering of friends and customers coming to send us off," he said.
Newly married couple Gaurav and Liza Khunger are now running the general store and said they hoped to continue the Dat's legacy.
"We are getting old, I think the town will benefit from the new owners, they are young and have more energy," Mr Dat said.
"I hope the town will keep on supporting them."