Although the digital world has drastically altered the retail landscape, Emily Gough’s passion is “keeping small business alive in the physical sense”.
“Online has changed the retail industry dramatically in the past 10 years or so, but I’m really passionate about giving people that physical shopping experience,” the small business co-op owner said.
“What was obvious from our market research was that people still want to come and shop, and meet the makers, meet the local artists.”
The ‘Kiama Pop-up Co-op’ opened in 2015, and ran for 18 months on Collins Street before founder/owner Ms Gough created ‘The Collective Kiama’ on Terralong Street in October 2016.
‘The Collective’ aims to provide a small business hub offering fledgling store owners and artists an option to get up and running without the huge outlay.
“It’s really hard these days for most businesses to even get the opportunity to have a space, because it’s really expensive,” Ms Gough said.
Last year, the business expanded to include ‘The Collective at Berry Cool Estate’.
The Kiama shop will remain open, but the Berry store has relocated to the former ANZ site at Gerringong.
It will be known as ‘The Collective Beat Gerringong’.
“We’re going for the more coastal vibe,” Ms Gough said of the new location.
“We’ve got a courtyard out the back where we want to have workshops and interactive stuff for the kids.”
The Kiama site incorporates 40 small business operators, with 25 at the Gerringong site.
The Gerringong store’s grand opening is on Saturday, September 15.
It will operate seven days a week from 9.30am to 5pm.
Read More: Kiama Pop-Up Co-Op set to expand