A headline act


By Jessica Micallef

Jenny Carland’s family has witnessed the evolution of news – from stacks of daily newspapers and magazines to news at your fingertips with online services. The Nextra Sunbury Newsagency has navigated the changes and remains a vital part of the community. Jenny reminisces with Jessica Micallef and chats about what’s next ……

Jenny Carland is proud of the legacy her family will leave in Sunbury.

For nearly nine decades, a member of Jenny’s family – from her grandparents to her own children – has been behind the counter of the Nextra Sunbury Newsagency.

Her grandparents William and Ellen Davies purchased the store from Mr and Mrs Gaulton in 1932.

Nearly 20 years later, Jenny’s parents Ron and Glenise Geyer took over ownership.

“We were the hub of the community,” Jenny said.

“Newspapers and magazines were massive back in the olden days. When I was a little girl, we also sold bikes, toys, we had a little library, we used to sell fire crackers, cakes, ice creams and milkshakes, footballs and football jumpers.

“I still have one those scoops for the ice cream with the wooden handle. We sold anything.”

In nearly 90 years, four generations of Jenny’s family have worked at the store.

Jenny started working there full-time in 2004, before she and her husband Gerald took ownership in 2015.

“In 2004, we had two beautiful staff members who had never taken long service leave. I thought I could take a year off teaching so that they could take long service leave … and I’ve been here ever since,” she said.

After Jenny’s dad passed away in 2010, she considered selling the family business but she said newsagencies were declining and they couldn’t sell it.

“The banks weren’t loaning money for the newsagency because they could see the decline and it wasn’t worth it,” she said.

“My family ended up buying the newsagency and ever since then, I have been making changes.”

At a time when technology was evolving and news was made easily available online, Jenny decided to pivot her business in a new direction.

Now the newsagency sells gifts, clothes, accessories, homewares, books and cards, as well as traditional newspapers and magazines.

It’s also a TattsLotto outlet and has sold 30 division one-winning tickets since 1972.

“Whatever wasn’t in Sunbury or what people were asking for, I developed it into my store,” Jenny said.

“It’s been really successful, and people have loved it.

“Newspapers and magazines are still important but it’s just changed because you can get your news anywhere.

“You get news alerts on your phone … people still like to have a physical paper or magazine, so we still do sell quite a few but we used to have rows and rows of magazines.”

Jenny has decided now is the time to take a step back from the family legacy and retire, and is selling the business to a new family.

She said she was proud of what her family had achieved over the many years.

“It’s a really big job to run a business at this size and that is why it’s time for me to retire,” she said.

“I want to be there to look after my grandchildren. I want the simple things now.

“My grandparents and parents would be really proud of me and I love that. I don’t feel like I am letting anyone down.”