Future chimes in for Betty
WHEN Betty Ross and her husband, Al, returned to Australia after 22 years in London, she was struck by the many wind chimes people had in their houses, something she had not seen in England.
What a coincidence that when they found their way to Bellingen looking for a place to settle and a business to buy, it was the Woodcraft Gallery at Bellingen’s Old Butter Factory, the original home of Windsong Chimes, that came their way.
“The gallery was the sole outlet for the chimes for much of this North Coast area, an arrangement that continued when the business was sold to new owners in Victoria,” Mrs Ross said.
But the gallery became much more than wind chimes, as the couple developed a passion for Australian woodcraft, carving out a niche as providers of local quality in a sea of imports.
When Windsong closed down nine years ago, Mrs Ross was devastated.
“We’d lost our key product, the thing we were best known for. So we ended up buying the business ourselves and bringing it back to its original base. We ran the two businesses alongside each other and put the chimes online in 2004.”
Now they have decided to focus on just one business – the wind chimes – handing the gallery baton to new owners Les and Marlene Howes in early September.
“It’s come as a shock to realise how long we have been here! The Old Butter Factory has been a beautiful work environment and I have made many friends over the years.”