Iconic street store with a taste of yesteryear
THE Rossella St Store has been a Gladstone icon for almost four decades and though times have changed, some things stay the same.
Mother and daughter, Bev Merrett and Carmel Ward have owned the store for the past 12 years.
They say that over time the topics of conversation haven't really changed.
Customers talk about their work, about some of the construction sites that are flat out and apart from that, it's the weather.
"When we bought it, it was basically a corner store where they sold a few sandwiches and pies and it was mostly groceries that kept it going," Mrs Merrett said.
At a time when corner stores have almost disappeared, their business still sells groceries, but it's the home made takeaway meals that keeps them going.
"It's pretty hard in town to get just basic food," Mrs Ward said.
"So many people buy their lunches. Some guys buy it every day... and buy their cigarettes, that's a lot of money."
Mrs Ward has been in business with her mum for about 22 years, 12 of them at the Rossella store.
"We've never had a fight. I just raise my eyebrows and walk away. We don't argue," she said.
The family has lived in the Gladstone region since 1964, first at Yarwun and now at Calliope.
While Mrs Ward helps her mum run the store, the youngest of three sisters, Donna is in charge of the Coffee Club at Gladstone Airport.
"When we first came there were a lot of school kids in the area," Mrs Merrett said.
"We knew the kids who were six, who are now in their late teens.... now we have mostly an older population in this area."
With the recent changes in the economic climate, the Rossella Store has had to adapt to the changing customers.
"You just have to sell whatever is selling, you try some things, they don't go, you shelve it and try something else."
The local store has built good relationships with other local suppliers, particularly Barney Point Butchers, Wally's Produce and Craig's Bakery.
"We've known Wally since we've been here, for 12 years, and even before that," Mrs Ward said.
She recalled in years gone by the only takeaway chain in Gladstone was KFC.
"We were a lot healthier then," she said.
"Now, it's about how people are managing. So many people are saying they are just making it."