By Patrick Avenell

Former Retravision Southern chairman Trevor Elsworthy has closed his Geelong electrical retailer after almost 80 years of trading.

The closure of Elsworthy’s comes at a difficult time for the Geelong area, which is facing mass lay-offs at its Ford plant and from the Target head office, where more than 250 staff have been let go.

At its height, Elsworthy’s was one of the biggest Retravision stores in the Southern group, with more than 50 employees and millions in turnover. The outlet won the Electrical Retailing Award for Best Victorian Store in 2006.

So strong was Elsworthy’s influence and popularity, Trevor Elsworthy had been chairman of Retravision Southern during the late 2000s and was responsible for several high profile appointments, including former Victorian Finance Minister Ian Smith and experience business executive Terry O’Dwyer.

In 2007, Elsworthy’s was embroiled in a bizarre legal battle between former Geelong Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett Junior and his former manager Michael Baker. According to legal documents, Ablett had agreed to in-store appearances at the retailer in return for free products, but he had later decided against the appearances.

Elsworthy was intimately involved in the appointment of Tim Cockayne, Retravision Southern’s last fulltime CEO before its collapse. Cockayne spent large sums of money on a rebranding exercise and the failed launch of an online store before resigning in late 2011, five months before Southern was placed in administration.

“Tim was selected from a highly competitive field and the board of Retravision Southern believes that he is uniquely qualified to build on Retravision Southern’s strengths and to lead the company’s continuing development,” Elsworthy said at the time.