WITH the benefit of hindsight, Cheryl White and Carly Powles look back and laugh at the whirlwind experience they had when purchasing and renovating World of Discovery Echuca.
Cheryl and her husband Darren bought the store in 2010 and immediately after Cheryl and Carly set an ambitious deadline of purchasing new stock and renovating the store in three days.
While they can admit they were a little naive at the time, it was full steam ahead for the duo at the time.
Carly stayed in Echuca to tackle the renovation and started labelling and pricing stock while Cheryl headed to Melbourne to buy stock for the new store.
“It’s obvious now that it was very ambitious but it was a lot of fun at the time,” Cheryl said.
“We worked on no sleep for three days but it all came together.”
The fashion and gift store has evolved from its humble beginnings in 2010. Originally only selling gifts, Cheryl and Carly changed the store as customer demand moved.
“We bought a small rack of clothes to test the waters after we had the gifts side of things taken care of,” Carly said.
“The clothes sold out in no time so it made sense to get more and go bigger.
“Everything we do is dictated by what the customers want. We are committed to constantly changing as customers tastes change.”
To keep up with demand, Cheryl and Carly have worked with web designer Blair Stonehouse from Limelight to design their website and draw customers to the physical store.
“The website is all about marketing for us,” Carly said.
“People see the products on the website and come in to buy them. We reach a broader audience and people from out of town come because they have seen the products online.
“We also get plenty of support from the locals in both the physical store and the website.”
And it’s that support from locals which Cheryl said was extremely important to the survival of small stores like World of Discovery and to regional towns such as Echuca-Moama.
“Echuca is known for its small retail stores. We don’t want to become like everywhere else with heaps of franchises,” Cheryl said.
“It’s really sad to see small businesses closing because they are so important. If we don’t make the effort to shop local we will lose tourists, and if that happens we all lose.’’