Magical Stratford store closes

Liz Bell

STRATFORD’S colourful and eclectic Turkish Magic was inundated with customers at the weekend, who came out in droves for one last opportunity to visit the store.

It was a bittersweet moment for owner Kim Babuc, who welcomed the boost in trade after a COVID-19 inspired downturn, but felt the pain of eventually having to close the doors for good on Monday.

Like many Gippsland stores, Turkish Magic, which was opened by Kim and her husband Adem 18 years ago, has been hit hard by the summer fires and travel restrictions.

The store has long been considered a ‘destination’ shop for the region, with many of its customers travelling from Melbourne and Sydney. But in January, Mrs Babuc told the Gippsland Times the fires had caused a 50 per cent drop in trade.

The Babucs were passionate about their range of products, many of which were sourced directly from Turkey, and enjoyed sharing their knowledge about the products with customers.

Two Sale businesses also announced closure because of COVID-19 last week – fashion and homewares store Keoke + Co in Raymond St, and Chinese restaurant Gippsland Dragon in Cunninghame St, after 30 years of operation.