It has been 65 years since the Henry family first set foot at Maitland Show, and in a few days they’ll be back with their iconic showbags.
The long-standing commitment to the show has hit its third generation with Callan Henry now in charge of making sure the children of Maitland have a wide range to choose from when it comes to the showbag stand.
“There is a massive connection between us and Maitland, it’s only been probably the last 10 years that there has been other showbag traders – prior to that it was our family and the Baileys – our uncle and aunty,” Mr Henry said.
“We used to compete against each other and it was cut throat – we didn’t talk for the whole show.”
It all started in 1952 at Singleton Show when Mr Henry’s grandparents Phyllis and Les started selling jewellery there.
“My pop was very interested in collecting stones so that is where it came from,” Mr Henry said.
That initial move paved the way for a long-standing family venture that was supplemented with showbag lines from the mid 1960s. When Mr Henry’s parents Allan and Lorraine took the reins in 1985 they solely focused on showbags.
They stopped attending events in Queensland and Victoria and focused on the NSW market, which was split between Mr Henry’s parents and his aunty and uncle.
“As a kid I used to work with my grandparents before they finished and it was good fun,” Mr Henry said.
“At the Maitland Show, when I was four, we had a fruit machine where people put money in and it would beep sometimes. I had to sit behind it and put toys down the shoots. It used to be just inside on the left when you went into the betting room.”
So what can families expect this year?
Mr Henry said he will offer a wide range of show bags through his business Showbags R Us.
The two choice bags which offer a bag of lollies and the choice of one toy are always a big hit with the kids.
“I try to import things before they become popular and I try to source lollies that haven’t even hit the market, we still try to promote product, just like a show bag should,” he said.
“Our specialty has always been, and still is, generic bags which include all the gun bags.”
Maitland Show is on this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Maitland Showground.
More info: maitlandmercury.com.au