History Matters || Driving the business: 'Sputnik' the force behind success

Back: Gilbert 'Commander' Gordon, Harry Christoe. Seated: John Mackenzie, Frank Stafford Mackenzie, Horrie Sheldon.

Back: Gilbert 'Commander' Gordon, Harry Christoe. Seated: John Mackenzie, Frank Stafford Mackenzie, Horrie Sheldon.

Mackenzie Street connects Grey and Church streets at the southern end of town and M C Mackenzie & Sons department store stood where Coles is currently located.

In his account Bill Cameron notes that: "There is no doubt F S Mackenzie was the driving force behind M C Mackenzie and Sons.

"This was in contrast to his mild manner, but it was his dedication to duty which carried him on and the business expanded in other places as well as Glen Innes.

"Branches were set up at Barraba, Upper Horton, and Deepwater and while in Glen Innes the firm branched out into the motor trading business by establishing Mackenzie Motors, and the Glen Innes Brick and Tile Co. as well the importing firm of Merchants Ltd, which was established in Sydney.

"This business supplied a number of leading stores in NSW and F S Mackenzie was one of the founders and directors of this firm.

"In 1925 F S Mackenzie took a well-earned rest and made an overseas tour. He appointed MD Seward as manager. On his return he left the management of the Glen Innes store to others, but retained the position of Managing Director which allowed him to supervise the other enterprises without being tied down to the everyday routine of the store. However, he still spent most of his time in the Glen Innes store, and much of it was spent drifting round the store talking to customers.

"When Russia put the first satellite into space in 1957, junior members of the staff dubbed him 'Sputnik' as they said he circled the store every 10 minutes.

"During his excursions round the store, he became on friendly terms with all his customers, and if anyone had a complaint he was ready to rectify matters.

"By fraternising with his customers he was well posted on the day to day happenings in the district, and as Mackenzies were large buyers of produce, it was in his interest to know the state of the season in the various parts of the district."

From "The Twentieth Century" by Bill Cameron, Land of the Beardies History House Bulletin Vol.10, No.4 1982.