Newcomer impressed by Gladstone's shopping potential
ENGLISH lass Sarah Webster is settling in Gladstone for the long haul, aiming her sights on what she believes will be a thriving CBD.
"The more I looked into what's available in Gladstone, the potential it has, the more I would love to show my commitment, and get in now before the redevelopment is done and it is a trendy place to shop," she said.
The former retail manager followed her husband and moved to Gladstone earlier this year.
With about 20 years' retail experience, Ms Webster is hoping to start her first business with a shop in the city.
"In the last few years, thousands of new homes have been built in Gladstone to cater for the influx of workers and families moving here to work," Ms Webster said.
"If people like myself are willing to come in and invest (in retail) and if banks are willing to take that chance, I think it can be a great city."
Ms Webster's vision for her Verity & Lace shop is what she calls a "lifestyle boutique", filled with giftware and women's fashion.
"Initially I was just going to open an online store but I've had a lot of encouragement from locals to do a bricks and mortar store as well," Ms Webster said
"It's going to be an eclectic mix. The clothing element will be made of natural fibres, cottons and linens and things.
"Polyester just doesn't cut it (in this climate)."
Ms Webster said her research shows keen Gladstone shoppers will travel to get what they want.
"I've heard ladies that want a decent day of shopping drive to Rocky or fly to Brisbane," she said.
"Coming from a small country town myself, driving that far I sort of understand but it shouldn't be necessary.
"This is a city. It should have an offering suitable to a city."
Ms Webster is testing the waters with a call for support or donations on Sponsume.com.
"In my mind I can see the shop front already," she said.
"I think I have to have that mentality to make it happen."
She hopes to open in September for the lead up to Christmas.
Ms Webster said Australia was the land of opportunity.
"There is so much opportunity for small business and entrepreneurs," she said.
"Certain things haven't reached here yet, so you can bring your ideas and experience you've picked up in say Paris or New York."