Business booms in Taroom
IN a business landscape where we hear all too often of shops shutting their doors, one little town has some great news.
Business is booming - so much so that locals are opening the shops of their dreams.
In the past few months at least four small businesses have opened in Taroom, including a homewares store and coffee lounge, a clothing store, shoe shop and butchery.
Andrea Beard and her husband own one of the first businesses to open, launching AJ's Country Meats in mid-May.
"We've always wanted to open up a butcher shop locally,” Mrs Beard said.
"My husband's passion is meat and I've always wanted him to get back into doing his passion. He's a fifth- generation butcher so it's in his blood, he was born and bred in it.”
When the previous shop owners retired, Mrs Beard said it was now or never to take a leap of faith and open their own store.
It's a similar story for Deborah Graham, proud owner of Deberella Shoes, which opened last month.
"I've been passionate about shoes all my life and have been wanting to do it for many years,” she said.
"I just thought now was as good a time as any, and I'd have a chat to a few people around the local area and they thought it was probably worth doing as well.
"So I guess I'm fulfilling my passion for shoes.”
It's the first time there's been a dedicated shoe store in Taroom, and so far Mrs Graham said the feedback had been fantastic.
"(The opening) was very well supported and I guess I was overwhelmed by the local support,” she said.
It's a sentiment echoed by Mrs Beard.
"Everyone's supporting us, which is fantastic. We've been super busy and we've been getting a lot of tourists, which is great. They're a tight-knit community, they've talked amongst themselves and we keep getting more and more new (customers).”
The ripple of change has also resulted in the opening of clothing store HB Styles by Taroom's Hayley Bennett, and Tania Kerlin's My Country Lane, a homewares store complete with a coffee lounge.
And while the women aren't entirely sure what sparked the spate of openings, they're thankful for the support, which Mrs Beard chalked up to the good nature of a country town.
"At the time it didn't really seem like the right timing, but it ended up being the perfect timing,” she said.
"The town's fantastic in supporting local businesses, which is what I've always loved.
"It's one of those towns that still has the country feel to it, where you know all the people walking down the street and you have that really nice vibe and people shop local and help local people.
"Like my husband carries the groceries out for the little old ladies and all that kind of good old-fashioned service that in a lot of cities isn't necessarily there any more.”
And according to Mrs Beard, the buzz is Taroom locals are loving the new shops.
"They come in here chatting and saying how... they've been supporting them.”
With all the shops in close proximity, Mrs Beard explained it was easy for patrons to peruse the clothes shop before having a piece of cake and cup of coffee, then ducking in to buy some fresh meat and take a gander at the shoe store.
"We just all work in together and support each other, which I love.”