With a background in buying for David Jones, my whole life has always centered on a career in retail. After 20 years in the luggage and handbag industry we felt we had achieved all we needed and decided to sell the business and explore other opportunities.
Having time off, it quickly became apparent that Brisbane was desperate for an up market gift and homewares store. My dream for the store was to fill a little shop with beautiful gifts and home essentials that I would want in my own home and spend my day pottering around the store chatting with my customers. We are so grateful that the people of Brisbane, and West End in particular embraced our store with open arms and the store quickly grew into a monster.
When we first opened, Montague Road in West End was almost exclusively a light industrial area. Factories, office spaces and wholesalers were the majority of the businesses with some cafés in between. Across the street was the gasworks, still in full operation and we saw the progression of it becoming a quarantined area due to the toxicity of the soil and then, for many years, a lake, with a startlingly diverse bird population.
With its proximity to the city and the Boundary Road precinct with its bars, restaurant and shops, it was only a matter of time before the light industry slowly moved out and developers jumped on the chance to create a new residential area.
Along the way, we have learnt many important lessons; that the face of retail is constantly changing and you have to adapt. Listening to your customers is key in developing your business. We have learnt what your needs are and what products are important. Despite the growing ecommerce trade, we still find that shopping locally and supporting small business is important to so many people and we strive to meet your needs to provide excellent customer service and products.
Over the years, Montague Road has blossomed into what we always knew it would be… a flourishing neighbourhood, still with a strong community ethic and a variety of businesses to compliment this. Newcomers to the area are attracted to West End’s eclectic and bohemian feel, and, as a result, we have seen the arrival of businesses in line with these qualities – natural food cafes and restaurants, sustainable retail and quality services to provide to the growing population.
The store has had a remarkable evolution over the years. At first we had many beautiful gifts and kitchen goods and also some artwork and furniture, but the most natural progression for the store was to include an organic supermarket. It ties in perfectly with the quality homewares we have and it just made sense to continue the theme of farm to table(wares) and supporting our hardworking local farmers and producers. To look at the store today, we would never have guessed this is where we would end up, and we are so thankful to our customers for their continued support and are excited for what may come in the future.