A HISTORIC old hotel on Haydon Street in Murrurundi has been a labour of love for the Stone family for the past few years.
Since its purchase in 2016, the family has worked hard to restore the building to its former glory and their shop, Stone & Co Vintage Interiors, has become a much-loved asset within the local community.
However, after years of ongoing efforts and communication to meet requirements during their conditional development application, Upper Hunter Shire Council finally issued a cease trading order on Monday, January 13.
The end decision came down to a failure to meet legally required fire safety standards which council says are in place "to protect staff, customers and surrounding properties".
The shop has now been given until 4pm on January 24 to shut or face a considerable fine.
Speaking to The Advocate, Abbie Stone said that while she appreciates the community's generous messages of support, the family have accepted that they will be closing their Murrurundi shop and now want to focus on their future while continuing to promote the local area.
"When we purchased the building it was derelict, a lot of the floors were rotting, there were a lot of problems with rising damp so we've had to pull up all the flooring and put in a new damp course to secure the building," she said.
"We've tried to keep everything original - all the press metal ceilings, we've reused all the flooring.
"Everyone that has worked on the building are qualified trades people.
"We've been in negotiations with council for two years and it's been an ongoing process to try to meet their requirements and we haven't been able to meet what they want in the time frame they wanted."
Abbie said she believes the months of hard work her parents John and Sue have put in to lovingly restoring the building has left a legacy.
"I do think in a way by purchasing this building we helped to build Murrurundi as a 'tourism spot'," she said.
"We run workshops here, so we have people that come and stay for the weekend from around Australia... Queensland, Victoria.
"They all come in, do the workshop, they stay the weekend, they eat in the local pubs and club and they stay in the accommodation here and then they also go around to the other towns as well.
"People love old buildings. They love history. They come in and they chat to us about different associations they've had with the building over the course of their lives."
Originally from the South Coast, Abbie's parents bought a property at Pine Ridge which they renovated and restored before moving to the Upper Hunter.
Abbie and her family then relocated to the Murrurundi from Sydney to open the shop. Now they will be looking at all options, including relocating the shop to a new premises.
"We will finish the renovations, we started and we've put enough blood, sweat and tears and finance into it to finish it, but we just won't keep the shop here," Abbie continued.
Over the next week Stone & Co has 50 per cent off gift and homewares in order to clear stock before they shut up shop.
The business will also continue to trade online while they figure out their next steps and will attend events to promote the Upper Hunter through their handmade local products.
"We know at the moment that not many people around this area have the money to spend frivolously on things that would be considered a luxury," Abbie said.
"We know that, we just hope that they continue to talk about us, share our posts on social media, talk to their friends who are out of the area, who are from greener pastures and we really hope that the support continues.
"This isn't the end. We might open something down the line, it just won't be here."