End of "lion" for Rita

Rita Rainbow has the roar product with a stuffed lion in her unique antiques shop.
Rita Rainbow has the roar product with a stuffed lion in her unique antiques shop. Contributed

Those thinking about popping down to the shops to buy a stuffed lion or human skeleton might have missed their chance.

However, there are still quite a few quirky items left to buy in Marcoola Antiques before it closes and the space is taken over by the neighbouring Bendigo Bank.

After 15 years, the colourful Rita Rainbow is packing up the shop that has had celebrities and Coast residents come through its doors.

“I've had a lot of fun in this shop,” Rita said.

“It's a shop that has never had the usual products in it. It has always been different.”

It has been so different, in fact, that two women complained to the police when they saw what was for sale.

“I went to work one day and there were two policemen waiting outside,” Rita said.

“One of them said to me, 'Madam, I believe you are dealing in human bones'.

“So I said, 'Yes I am, come in'.”

When police asked her where the skeleton - much like those used by medical students - came from, Rita said, “Well, if anyone comes into the shop I don't like, I sort them out”.

And so she did on another occasion, when a fight broke out inside the store.

“A bloke was fighting in my shop so I came around with the donger I keep behind the counter and I went to hit the bloke,” she said.

“And he said, 'Don't hit me, hit him, he's the baddie', so I hit the other man instead.”

From Jamie Dunn to the cast of Blue Heelers, people have come to buy everything from taxidermist-stuffed animals to indigenous artefacts and antiques from all over the world.

Rita said she would miss the shop but gardening and her grandchildren would provide her with plenty to do.

“I'll still do antique fairs and garage sales too so that will keep me off the streets,” she said.

“But not as many as I've been doing. I've worked 15 years of weekends - that's a long, long time.”

“It's a shop that's never had the usual products in it. It's always been different.”

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