FASHION RANGE: Kate Benedict, owner of Katie B.
FASHION RANGE: Kate Benedict, owner of Katie B. Allan Reinikka ROK301118akatieb1

New boutique hits busy Rocky street block

A NEW shop is hitting Rockhampton's growing fashion scene.

Katie B is officially opening on Monday on William St, a few doors up from Dingles Cafe Bar.

Kate Benedict is the face behind the business which stocks both boutique style fashions from the US for women.

Ms Benedict has run Katie B Western for the past eight years but decided to make the transition to stock more than just western wear clothing.


Western wear from America.
Western wear from America. Allan Reinikka ROK301118akatieb5

"I had seen a lot of great suppliers in my travels of products I wanted to stock and wanted to offer my customers," she said.

"My customers aren't women that just wear jeans every day, they are women that wear dresses and shorts and skirts and lots of other things as well.

"So it was more about offering customers a more complete range of fashion instead of just servicing their need for western fashion."

This prompted the slight name change.

"Although we still do the western clothing, we dropped the western off the name to reflect we don't just do western any more," she said.


128 William St

Opening Monday Dec 3

Boutique women's store with modern fashion and stylish western wear

Open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, Saturdays 9am to 1pm

Ms Benedict moved to Rockhampton a few months ago from Kingaroy to open the business.

She felt it was a good place to open a new store as a large regional centre.

"It is country town but it's also very central to a lot of regional centres.... a lot of people come to Rockhampton," she said.

Travelling to equine and cattle events, campdrafts and rodeos with the western wear business, she has gained a lot of success from the Beef Capital.

"We have been a lot in the past for events and always received a really good response so that gave me a good vibe that Rockhampton would be a good place to open the shop," she said.


The store opens on Monday.
The store opens on Monday. Allan Reinikka ROK301118akatieb2

Ms Benedict joins many other women in business in the small William St block and says it's great to be around such a supportive group.

"It is a good area with plenty of complimentary businesses around too, hair and beauty and coffee and food," she said.

"It is great to be surrounded by other women in business and other women who are driven to succeed with positive attitudes and great existing businesses."

Small business is on the rise with many new shops popping up through the street - a number of which are owned by women.

"Women when they are shopping really look for that connection, women go shopping and go into stores because they want to talk to someone, someone to give them assistance, give their opinion... so I think that is why we are seeing that growth and where it is coming from," Ms Benedict said.

"I have an online business and it is great when you can't get a product in a store but you don't receive that service, you just can't offer it to customers and that is something shops can offer and they succeed when they offer customer service well."

Ms Benedict's advice for someone, be it a woman or man looking to start a new business, is to have a long-term plan.

"Whatever you are doing or selling, have your product marketed that you could do it long-term as a business so it doesn't turn into a hobby," she said.

"Always run your business as a professional, treat what you are doing as full-time and not as a hobby otherwise it will always be a hobby."


Dingles sits on the corner of Diggora Terrace.
Dingles sits on the corner of Diggora Terrace. Contributed

THE shop fronts in the block of William Street are in a historical complex named Diggora Terrace.

This building was constructed in 1901 and Dingles Cafe Bar has kept some of the original features.

Most of the shopfronts all have upstairs apartments.

At one stage the whole block was a department store.

The complex has had a history of various businesses.

It was most known for the Melbourne Fish Bar, which was a very popular takeaway business on the corner where Dingles now is.


A photo taken around 2000 with the Melbourne Fish Bar when it was operating.
A photo taken around 2000 with the Melbourne Fish Bar when it was operating. Contributed

It is believed to have run between the 1960s and late 1990s. Long-time locals remember lining up on a Sunday night for fish and chips. For three pence you could get fish and so many chips you couldn't eat them all. For a shilling you could get a twin pat ice cream.

The food was also wrapped in newspaper.

Before this, the building once housed a saddlery business in the 1920s. A fire came through the building at some stage but didn't ruin the structure.

Through the block over the years there were many other businesses including Tracy Hardy Photography, Restoration House, Livingston Real Estate, Patchwork Paradise, a restaurant, a gun shop, and a hardware store.

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