BY ALEXANDER LEWIS
There is bad news for partygoers seeking to stock up on smokes and Coke in the wee hours, as Taylor Square’s oldest news agency becomes the latest collateral casualty of lockouts.
The 24-hour purveyor of darts, deakfast and magazines closed last Saturday September 26, after 83 years of operation by the same family.
Owner Mark Pigott pointed the finger at the state government’s lockout laws, which he said resulted in a 40 per cent drop in trade since they took force.
Introduced in 2014 in reaction to the deaths of two youths due to alcohol-fuelled violence, the laws prohibit revellers from entering venues after 1:30am, which for many was just the start of a night out.
The laws have delivered a particularly hard punch on Oxford Street businesses, which were already plagued with declines in customers for years.
President of the Darlinghurst Business Partnership Stephan Gyory shot down suggestions that the news agency closed due to the diminishing popularity of printed media, accusing lawmakers of “throw[ing] Darlinghurst under a bus”.
“Some glib observers have suggested that the dead-tree publishing business model is over. But figures from around the world show that printed media is a viable, if niche, market — if you have customers in your area. And that’s the point,” Mr Gyory said.
The partnership is working on a strategy to bring people back to Darlinghurst, but for many proprietors like Mr Pigott, it is too late.
“None of this will change the reality for the Pigotts,” Mr Gyrory said.
“They will go, their history will be lost, eventually someone else will open, or ‘even better’, develop that property and life will go on.”
Mr Pigott paid tribute to his business in a Facebook post on the day of its closure.
“The Pigott Family would like to thank the countless numbers of customers we have served since 1932 along with the many dozens of staff members we have worked with over this considerable time,” the post read.
“We wish everyone concerned all the best for the future on behalf of the three generations of our family that have operated the newsagency in all its forms since 1932.”