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In a small Tasmanian town…

In a building that has withstood the test of time, you can find Slaters Country Store. Located in the small tourist town of Sheffield, the one-stop department store holds memories of its rich history, spanning 120 years and 5 generations of being operated by the same family.

It all started in 1899

After moving to Sheffield in the spring of 1899 with his wife Mahala, Thomas Clarke established T. Clarke’s Federal Cash Draper and Clothier. After his passing, Thomas’ youngest daughter Ellen and her husband Jesse Slater carried on the family business, renaming the store to J.F Slater’s Federal Cash Shop in 1909. After building the new corner store in 1921, Jesse and their only son Frank, pioneered some of the earliest wireless sets in Northern Tasmania, as depicted by the mural located on the building today. Ellen, fondly known as Nellie or Grandma Slater, continued working in the store until she was 92, helped out by son Frank, after the passing of Jesse in 1937. Grandma Slater’s desk is still overlooking today’s store, connected to the front register by the flying fox, an old two-way cash carrier system that sent payments on an overhead wire to the central cash office. Nellie passed away in 1967, aged 97. Frank Slater and his wife May formed F.C. Slater Pty Ltd in 1963, and the store began trading as Slater’s Department Store. With no children of their own, Frank’s nephew Alan Dyer and his wife Elsie purchased the business in 1974 at the retirement of Frank and May.

Slaters Country Store was formed

It was under the ownership of Alan and Elsie that the corner store in Sheffield began trading as Slater’s Country Store. They remodeled both the interior and exterior of the store to capture the many years of the store’s old-world charm. This has proven to be a major draw card over the years, with many tourists coming through the town to view the history of the store, reminiscing their own childhoods, and bringing along children and grandchildren to share stories with. Many farmers around the wider community can recount the time Alan and Elsie’s youngest son John Dyer loaded up a van full of work and farming clothes and offered a mobile Slaters experience, going from farmhouse to farmhouse, building up new clientele who waited for him to come back every month. A few years after the retirement of Alan and Elsie in 1995, their youngest son John and wife Cindy purchased the store and ran it together.

Slaters as we know and love today

Since the passing of John in 2013, Cindy along with her wonderful manager and staff continue to keep the original Clarke legacy alive. Today you will find nearly everything you need under one roof. From ladies fashionwear and men’s workwear to kidswear, footwear and the latest homeware trends, Slaters has it all.

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