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H Rehfisch & Co Move After 115 Years

By Phillip Lee

Established in 1860 the iconic H Rehfisch & Co P/L have out grown their home of more than 115 years and are moving to brand new, purpose built premises in Latrobe Street, making way for a new business owner to write their own history in this grand old building.

Since as early as 1901 H Rehfisch & Co has been synonymous with its Mair Street shop.  Behind the array of goods for sale is more than 100 years of history with five generations of the Rehfisch family fronting the business.

Upstairs in the building previous employees and members of the family have used the walls and roof to leave messages and write their names.  However, that is all set to change with building set to go up for auction next month as the business relocates to a new site at 903 La Trobe Street.

Owner ​Guy Rehfisch joined the business as soon as he left school and admitted he had some mixed emotion about the move.  “I grew up in the shop here,” he said.  “The day I finished school was the day I started here, it has been very good.

“My great grandfather has written on these walls and graced these buildings, that is something that will be missed but we can’t stay here forever, we have outgrown it with the changes to the business.”

The building itself also includes a underground cellar, external stables and access to a cobblestone lane in the CBD.  Mr Rehfisch said he believed the business may be the oldest Ballarat business still operated by the same family.

“We get customers in here regularly who lived here 30 years ago and moved away for family or to retire and they come back and say ‘oh you are still here, in the same shop and in the same family’,” he said.

Mr Rehfisch said changes in the industry, such as the addition of gun safes had meant more space was needed.  The business started out as a leather merchant before moving into selling firearms and fishing equipment.

“On auction day we will probably be sad and a bit like ‘oh this is happening now’,” Mr Rehfisch said.  He also said a number of the historic items from the old shop would still be on show at the new facility including an original receipt from 1901.

The relocation is expected to occur during September.

Ray White Ballarat’s Commercial Division will auction the property on July 17 at 12 pm at the Mair Street site.

Click here for more details and photos.

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