It may be difficult to see the potential in retail right now, let alone in the bush, but in the charming country town of Crookwell, a couple is taking a leap of faith.
The Country Treasure Collective is the good news story coming out of Crookwell Gazette's former office.
Open for little more than a week, owners Bonnie and Dallas Atkins were already encouraged by locals and tourists alike, finding interest in their collection of second-hand, vintage and country wares.
The couple has been collecting country treasures since their days pre-children, touring Australia performing in a band and later in a puppet show.
"We often worked in country towns and that's where we got this love of collecting. For about 20 years now, we have collected things of all genres, enjoyed them, lived with them and now we sell them," Mrs Atkins said.
The country has always captured the Atkins' hearts and they lived and had their two sons in Lockhart, Riverina before a stint in the city.
As soon as their boys grew up, the couple jumped at the chance to pack up and move from Canberra to Crookwell to pursue their passion.
That was three-and-a-half years ago and the business has grown since then.
What started as a stall in Arcadia Crookwell, then grew to include Country Treasure and Mr Atkins' 'mantiques' (antiques for men), to become an independent store selling Victorian nighties, pre-loved china and vinyl records, among other items.
The shop is also home to Mr Atkins' side-business, digitalising tapes.
"[Being in Arcadia] built up a rapport with like-minded people in Crookwell who love going through second-hand stuff and Vinnies, that sort of world.
"Now we've got the opportunity to showcase other things, as well as our second-hand stuff and it seems to be hitting a nerve. Tourists also love it," Mrs Atkins said.
This support has given the Atkins a positive attitude during tough times not only for retail but also for drought-affected communities, forced to tighten their purse strings.
"I think if we came in cold and tried to start from scratch without all our local support, I dare say we would have had hardly anybody in," Mrs Atkins said.
"I know it's only been just over a week but we are so encouraged already."
The couple signed a 12-month lease and will be eager to stay if the period goes well. The building is up for sale, but the Atkins said they would look for an alternate shopfront if 120 Gouburn Street wasn't available after then.
"This end of town is coming alive again and it's amazing how many people are up and down using all the services. We haven't had a problem of catching people's attention," Mrs Atkins said.
The Country Treasure Collective is open Wednesday to Monday, although the couple's work never stops.
"Tuesday is our picking day. The collection is always growing. We get people ringing us up and asking to look at stuff in their shed. Usually, they're selling and don't have a place for all their stuff, so we do a buy/sell and help them out. So we are constantly refreshing our second-hand stock and I am constantly buying through my wholesalers for Country Treasure. Our aim is to have this front area constantly refreshed," Mrs Atkins said.
It's no surprise then, that even their shed at home is almost full, mostly of furniture also for sale.
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