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Author Kelly Rimmer has bought a business in Orange

July 3, 2022

Margaret and Phillip Schwebel and (inset) Kelly Rimmer. Facebook/Kelly Rimmer.

By Peter Holmes

Best-selling author Kelly Rimmer has bought Collins Booksellers on Summer Street from Margaret and Phillip Schwebel.

The Schwebels have owned the shop for 22 years.

Known for personalised service and a wide range of books, the business had been on the market for about a year, and was listed for $255,000 including stock.

"Well, [22 years] is a long time - time for a change," Phillip Schwebel told The Orange News Examiner by phone on Sunday afternoon, shortly after the couple announced they had sold up.

"Margaret will stay on until Christmas, maybe longer, so we'll still have a connection to the shop."

He described it as a "good business" and said he never had any concerns that it would sell. "It's going well and books are still very, very popular. Hang on, I just have to serve a customer..."

He said it wasn't a long negotiation period with Rimmer. "It takes time to get these things done, of course, but no."

He said he will "certainly miss all the customers we've met over the years; we've seen kids become adults. I will miss that daily contact, but we'll still be in Orange, we're not going anywhere".

Margaret Schwebel on the recent long weekend. Copyright: Orange News Examiner.

And will that mean more time for ... reading?

"Hopefully a bit more, and gardening and travelling."

The Schwebels took charge of Collins Booksellers in 2000 shortly after the Sydney Olympics.

"It has been an exciting time to see our shop expand in size and range," the Schwebels wrote on social media. "Every month more new books were being published - it was like Christmas every month to see all the beautiful new books as they were delivered."

The "only down times were the two floods we had in the shop (a broken water pipe and a blocked drain)", they said. "Water and books are not a good combination!"

Over the years the shop has sold thousands of tickets to local events, made donations to local schools and coordinated the supply of books to new born babies at Orange Base Hospital.

The Schwebels paid tribute to their staff and mentioned Sue Tom, who was with the shop for over 11 years.

Jimmy Barnes at Collins in Orange. Supplied.

"The new managers of the shop will be Matt and Mindy," said the post. "Margaret will continue working part-time and our other staff are also continuing - Ash, Belinda and Bridie."

The changeover date is July 8.


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