End of an era: The Crazy John's name has been shut down.
Crazy John's was once a quirky mobile phone brand borne of a working class man whose branches dotted suburban Australia. But in September it will cease to exist - almost seven years after the tragic death of its founder, John Ilhan.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia will on Wednesday announce that Crazy John's will be shut down and its 100,000 customers will be offered a move into the parent brand.
''It is a sad day and it's certainly the end of an era in name but his pioneering spirit is alive here,'' Vodafone Australia director of sales Ben McIntosh said. ''We look forward to welcoming those Crazy John's customers who are coming over to Vodafone, and we say goodbye to those who are leaving and thank them for their loyalty and support over the years.''
Mr Ilhan, 42, collapsed and died while walking near his Melbourne home in October 2007. His death triggered an outpouring of grief from politicians and celebrities to then-prime minister John Howard.
Vodafone Australia bought 75 per cent of Crazy John's from his widow, Patricia Ilhan, in 2008 for around $150 million.
The young entrepreneur who was the son of Turkish migrants loved the limelight and rode the mobile phone boom by turning his low-cost retail store into a national success story with 120 outlets and $200 million per year in revenues.
He sponsored football clubs, homeless youth shelters and food allergy fighters after discovering his daughter Jaida was unable to eat peanuts. He also tapped into antipathy about the national carrier, describing Telstra as a ''bully'' that was no longer competitive as part of his sales pitch.
But his greatest commercial legacy was Crazy John's - a name he claimed came to life because customers kept saying his marketing ideas were crazy.
The company was the first to offer $1 mobile phones that allowed customers to pay less up-front and more over the life of a contract. The practice is now common.
Vodafone Australia operated Crazy John's as a separate entity until January, 2013, when it decided to merge it with the parent company and close down 40 of the 60 outlets that had survived - a move that saddened Ms Ilhan.
Vodafone Australia's Mr McIntosh said that with customers down to around 100,000 users it no longer made sense to have both running.
He was keen to state that no staff would lose their jobs.
Crazy John's was then run as an online-only operation with its own customers and prices that went as low as $5 per month - plans that shall no longer be offered.