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New elders take over landmark business

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Bernie and Asha Shanahan (rear centre) have taken over an iconic business in Ballan, 25-years after founders (L-R) Peter Nolan and Lloyd Robertson opened the doors. Photo – Helen Tatchell
Bernie and Asha Shanahan (rear centre) have taken over an iconic business in Ballan, 25-years after founders (L-R) Peter Nolan and Lloyd Robertson opened the doors. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Jessica Howard

After 25-years, the owners of Crossroads Trading in Ballan are hanging up their boots.

Lloyd Robertson and Peter Nolan purchased the Old Melbourne Road building in 1991 and transformed it from an old service station into a soil yard, with a side of second hand furniture.

“The old building was nothing like what it is now,” Lloyd said.

“The old servo hadn’t been used for quite some time, it was really more of an old shed, but we cleaned that up with a bit of paint and a lot of time. We were a standard soil yard back then, with less farm equipment and the sale of second hand furniture and knick-knacks.

“We ran the second-hand furniture for about eight-years. It was always in our business plan to do stock feed, but at the time there was another business running in Ballan and there wasn’t enough room for two.

“When the place was on its way down, we saw the opportunity to move and started doing stock feed before slowly moving towards farm supplies”.

Lloyd said the pair, who have been friends for over three decades, came up with the idea for the business while horse riding.

“We used to go riding together occasionally, and on one of those occasions we spoke about what Ballan might have needed going forward, and from there we developed a business plan for the business.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s been very rewarding at the same time. You get to meet a lot of great people through your daily transactions”.

The business has now been handed over to Greendale residents Asha and Bernie Shanahan.

Asha has worked in the agricultural industry for the last eight-years. Her husband Bernie has lived on the 100-year-old family farm in Greendale since birth and upon completing school, worked in cattle yards before becoming a stock agent for Elders.

“It’s an honour to take on what Peter and Lloyd have achieved,” Asha said.

“Bernie and I have two little girls and working in the corporate industry was a bit much, so the opportunity to have our own business was perfect for our family”.

Bernie said the new business venture was equally daunting and exciting.

“It’s going to be good working with the community and providing them with face-to-face farm knowledge. We are taking over a very well established business and we want to continue that”.

Lloyd said after 25-years, he felt comfortable stepping away from Crossroads.

“Mainly because the people who have taken over are quite capable,” he said.

“[Asha and Bernie] are local, they have good agricultural knowledge and are well prepared for what they will have to take on.

“Crossroads is in very good hands”.