FOR DECADES Daylesford Bookbarn has been an iconic presence on the edge of Lake Daylesford, but now, owner Andrew Green is preparing to shut up shop.
Mr Green, who has owned and managed the store for the past 12 years, said his lease ran out last November and was not renewed by the new owner - a developer.
He was a regular visitor to Daylesford when he spied a sign in the window stating the space was up for grabs.
Former owner Kerry Bolton - who ran the store for 25 years until his retirement - told him he could expect book sales to continue to drop dramatically with the rise of the internet and was selling the business as a prime location for a fine dining venue.
Mr Green purchased the business, slept on a mattress in the accompanying cottage with his cat and dog while he sold his house in Melbourne, before doing up the quirky secondhand bookshop and adding a cafe to supplement book sales.
"I know a bit about books now but I didn't then - I didn't know who Dickens or Shakespeare were. The move was a steep learning curve for me," he said.
"Everybody says it's tourism that keeps it running but over the past 12 years I have built up a really great local clientele. Even when it's pouring down rain and there's no visitors in town, I still have a few people coming in for a cup of coffee and to read the paper. It's a bit of a sanctuary from the main street."
Mr Green is sad his time running the bookstore has come to an end, but believes it is time for him to move on.
"I hired two casual staff while they were at high school. They have worked for me every Saturday and Sunday for the past 12 years and have put themselves through university but they are both entering new jobs this year. So perhaps that's a sign that I should move on too," he said.
He said the whole feel of Daylesford was changing.
"It is changing and it's constant and there are certainly advantages, and certainly disadvantages. But we [Daylesford] are geared for tourism. A lot of people don't like it but what's the substitute?"
He said he hoped the spot where the Bookbarn store stands would not be over-developed.
He hopes to remain in the town which has given him so much over the years.
"I've met a lot of really nice people here. There aren't a lot of permanent residents here but those who are are unique. I've met writers, artists, politicians, and a supreme court judge. You never know who is living in the back streets of Daylesford."
These were the best years of my life. You've just got to take life and do it - I am looking at this now as another adventure. I know I'm old but I've got enough time to have another adventure.Andrew Green
Mr Green will close the Bookbarn at the end of the financial year and is on the hunt for another job.