Quinn’s/Breadtop – Bankstown, NSW

While I’m completely prepared to imbue you with the knowledge that Breadtop was once Quinn’s Shoe & Sports Store, I’d much rather take this opportunity to speculate. Indulge me…

When I look at this building, I see a proud store owner, Quinn. Quinn’s just bought this building, and he’s going to take the empty shell of opportunity and fill it with progress and achievement. His passion is sport, and he’s walked away from the certainty and stability of a public sector job in order to follow his dream of running a sports shop. He refurbishes his little miracle, which he’s worked hard for years to afford, and decks it out with the latest sports equipment: Dunlop volleys, Steeden rugby gear, Bankstown Canterbury Bulldogs merch, Kookaburra cricket bats. Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings are go time, and Monday and Tuesday are his weekends. Business is booming, life is good. This is Quinn’s shop, and it always will be.

But Quinn is a protective man. And who can blame him, this is his life’s work. This is QUINN’S Shoe and Sports Store, not yours. Certainly not those louts who come and lift socks or a three pack of golf balls every now and then. Quinn’s heart is so into the business, it sometimes blinds him. Like the time he caught young Jim Sawyer from Yagoona trying to pinch a protective cup. Quinn hit the boy several times, it was rumoured. He broke Jim’s nose. One customer said they found a tooth on the shop floor not long after. Quinn didn’t know that Jim was just too embarrassed to buy the cup himself, and even when he found out, Quinn didn’t care.

Times change. Quinn’s doesn’t. Suddenly, you can get three pairs of shoes for half the price at Rebel, or the Nike outlet. Quinn can’t compete with that. Nintendo and Sega take the place of a bat and ball in one too many homes. Quinn can’t even understand that, let alone compete with it. His children, uninterested in the shop, don’t bother to explain it. The time comes when Quinn fails to make that weekly quota he swore to himself he’d never drop under, and even though it pains him to admit it, he knows it’s time to call stumps.

The first of many would-be leaseholders is shown through the building by the real estate agent, and Quinn insists on coming along. After the third instance of Quinn shouting a prospective tenant out of the shop, the agent stops inviting him. When the deal is finally inked, Quinn can’t stand to see his shop being turned into an anonymous clothing store, or a two dollar shop, or worse still, a ridiculously named bakery. It breaks his heart every time he drives by, but he’s so set in his ways he doesn’t know any other route.

Now Quinn is gone, and the shop is long since sold. And everyone would have forgotten Quinn and his passion if it weren’t for one thing. One minor addition he made years before. Quinn hated the idea of besmirching his building with advertising or signs. His customers knew where to find him, and he wasn’t going anywhere. But when he could see the writing on the wall, he could think of no better way to make himself immortal than to spend his last big windfall on a big-ass sign tightly bolted in a hard to reach position.

This is Quinn’s shop, and it always will be.

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