Bruno Sigmund “isn’t really into professionalism”.
He and wife Jan have run Brunoskis Ski Hire for 41 years – so the relaxed approach has proven worthwhile.
Asked what’s special about the Border’s longest-running ski hire shop, Mr Sigmund answered “the dog”, but his loyal customers know it’s more than just Georgia that keeps them coming back.
“We’ll even have happy hour after five o’clock and we’ve got five grandkids – you should see the mess when they’re here – so we can tolerate children,” he said.
“Out of 41 years, we had 15 reasonable ones, and a couple really good ones.
“There’s 50 outlets now doing something we sell, whether it’s fleeces or thermals, and then you have four ALDI shops.
“We cant hire any clothing hardly – a whole seven-seater car will come in and all they want is one pair of boots or pants, because they bought all the stuff they could get.”
The rise of cheap snow gear in major retail chains is one of a number of reasons the Sigmunds are closing at the end of this season.
But he’s got no regrets – Mr Sigmund has lived and breathed snow since he was a 14-year-old Mount Beauty boy.
“I went to work up at Falls Creek at 17, doing ski patrols and tows … we decided to stay off the mountain when my daughter came along,” he said.
“I wanted to keep skiing and I think it (ski gear hire) was going to be one of the better ways to keep skiing myself, rather than to make money.”
Brunoskis Ski Hire is loved for the character of both the owners and the shop; it’s one of few businesses still processing sales with a calculator and a book.
For that reason, it’s helpful Mr Sigmund is good with numbers – but also in recalling the various Border Morning Mail photos at the store – including the one where he’s “grass-skiing” down what’s now known as Huon Hill.
Once as much gear as possible is sold to the public, Brunoskis Ski Hire will be no more – but because “he can’t let go of anything”, says an exasperated wife – Mr Sigmund, 66, will keep doing some casual work on the side.
“We’re going to do ski gear maintenance from our shed or at a depot,” he said.
“Every place there’s snow, if I win Tatts Lotto, I’m going.”