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Meet our staff: Lynton the former ‘Brashs Man’

Most people over a certain age remember flipping through cassettes in Brashs before the digital revolution hit music and wiped out the need to buy an album in a bricks-and-mortar shop.

LRH allied health assistant Lynton Azlin used to manage Brashs at Mid Valley Morwell between 1989 and 1999, when retail was booming, people watched movies on video cassettes and John Farnham was known as Whispering Jack.

The Mid Valley outlet was even named Brashs store of the year in 1997, and Lynton was nominated for store manager of the year.

“Brashs was a leading retailer and we had a market share in recorded music and consumer electronics,” Lynton said.

“Mid Valley was very busy, particularly on a Friday night and every shop was occupied. At the time, it was the leading retail destination in the Latrobe Valley.

“Customers would love to hang out at the store which was in the middle of the shopping centre, music would be playing and it had a good vibe to it.”

Lynton started off as a sales assistant and ended up managing the store, overseeing about 20 staff selling anything from blank tapes, Walkmans, and early model computers and mobile phones.

A large part of his job was explaining bourgeoning technology to customers, or going into their homes to tune-in a TV or install a video cassette recorder.

He said TVs were “super expensive, bulky, cumbersome” items and a purchasing a new unit was a big household decision.

CDs were replacing tapes and vinyl and were touted as “un-scratchable” and a superior listening experience.

“Australians love embracing new technology and new products were continually being released. Manufacturers always put in training nights to demonstrate the models,” Lynton said.

“On the shop floor I’d find a way to engage in conversation with a customer. Some would immediately cross their arms and say ‘no thanks’. I’d find a way to bring down their defences.”

The lifelong Morwell resident said even now, he is still recognised by locals in the street as the “Brashs man” and even by the occasional patient coming through LRH.

Brashs ended up going into administration, and the Mid Valley outlet closed its doors.

Lynton went on to work in other electrical stores, but it was when he began looking after his mum that he realised his calling was to care for people.

But he still has his Brashs name badge and uniform.

“It was tough when that final trading day came, I loved it so much and I had something to do with all the staff there. I helped to train and develop them and share good moments,” he said.

“Now, I’d much rather be helping people than selling consumer goods. But working in retail has helped me in my role in allied health, I use my ability to listen to people.”