Bree Johnston From Plum Vintage in Kyogle.
Bree Johnston From Plum Vintage in Kyogle. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Bree picks a plum business

WHEN Bree Johnston used to visit Kyogle as a sales rep for a workwear company she knew one day she would live there.

So three years ago she and her family moved to Kyogle from Brisbane. And last November when the opportunity came up to buy Plum Vintage, an eclectic antiques and gift store, she jumped at the opportunity.

"You are either a bush person or a beach person and I love the whole country town feel of Kyogle," she said.

As for the store's unusual name, Ms Johnston bought that along with the store. The previous owner had named the shop after a range of black glazed ceramics decorated with pictures of plums that were produced by the Shelley Company in the 1920s.

"I love the connotation of plum as in choice and vintage as in something that is classic," she said.

Ms Johnston wants Kyogle to be known as a shopping destination and a place to stop and have a break as tourists drive the highway.

"Lots of motorcycle tourists come through here because they love the road. It's only about 90 minutes from the Gold Coast."

Aside from a range of new giftware, Plum Vintage also sells a range of pre-loved kitchenalia.

"When people walk in they all say 'Oh my goodness, my grandmother had one of them'," she said.

Plum Vintage doesn't have a website yet but Ms Johnston does use Facebook to stay in contact with customers.

"These days retailers have to have an online strategy for younger customers and a more traditional marketing strategy for older clientele," she said.

As a way of involving her customers, each month Ms Johnston has Frock up Friday and her Facebook friends come to the shop wearing their favourite old frock.

Since moving to Kyogle, Ms Johnston has had a second child and is able to look after her 10-month-old in the shop.

"It's hectic having a family and running a business at the same time," she said. "I feel blessed having a shop and being able to have the baby with me, it means I can integrate family life into my business."

Ms Johnston said the recent fire that destroyed the Macdade furniture and electrical store in January was devastating for the town.

"Everyone felt for them and wants to rally around and see them trading again," she said.

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