New businesses embrace change

Michael TraillNarrogin Observer
Damian McEllister and Johanna Eppler.
Camera IconDamian McEllister and Johanna Eppler.

Multiple businesses opening or announcing their plans to open in Narrogin in recent weeks could signal a return of some confidence for the town’s traders.

Two business owners who set-up shop this month believe a passion for their brand and willingness to evolve with time is essential for success in the face of a declining Wheatbelt, the might of online retailers and recent business break-ins.

Owner of homeware store The Rustic Vault, Carmen Degenaar, who also owns neighbouring Fortune Street business Thing-a-me-Bobs, said she had embraced virtual marketing and trading.

Carmen Degenaar.
Camera IconCarmen Degenaar. Credit: Michael Traill.

"You have to evolve with the times,” she said.

“Twenty years ago you just got a till and put stuff on the shelf.

"Now you have to be on Instagram, on Facebook. We're launching this store online later this year, you have to be able to compete with online."

Wild & Waste Free, another Fortune Street business to open this month, offers a click-and-collect service similar to the one offered by Coles and Woolworths.

The packaging-free and waste-conscious mini-market started trading online 12 months ago before making the transition to bricks and mortar.

Owner Johanna Eppler said she was prepared to evolve her business to keep up with consumer habits.

“We started off online, that was purely budgeting reasons, but now we've set up click and collect so people can shop at any time of day or night," she said.

Both merchants — one having two decades of trading experience and the other having just over 12 months — said population decline and business closures across the region were taken into consideration before opening their shops.

Mrs Degenaar said a recent wave of business burglaries in Narrogin was also a concern.

"I do go to bed every night thinking 'is it my turn tonight?' because of what's been going on lately," she said.

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