Most people, particularly if they grew up in a smaller suburban or regional town, would remember spending time at their local store growing up. It might have been a small shopping complex or even the local takeaway. Wherever it was, one thing was for certain, you knew the shop owner and they knew everyone in the community that walked through their door.
We’ve all heard it’s good to support local businesses, but how many of us actually do it? If you ask Maitland Business Chamber President, Craig McGregor the answer is a lot. ‘This community is quite parochial,’ he said.
East Maitland, Morpeth, Rutherford, Lorn and The Levee Central Maitland are all hubs for independent traders with Green Hills and Rutherford the places tailor made for any shopping experience.
Local retailing has had a rebirth within the city with independent stores like Blue’s Child, Willows Homewares and Ruben & Wren who have built up great community rapport and names for themselves.
A popular local choice is twig & moss which started out as a pop up shop in a friend’s antique store. After a quick two months they moved into their own space and ‘haven’t looked back’, said store owner Melanie Meggs.
The store brings together a range of products that have a sense of whimsy inspired by nature. It is raw bespoke living with the aim to create an alternative option for those wishing to escape the mass made culture and seeking something that is unique.
If you believe everything old is new again, antique stores are not hard to stumble upon in Maitland, with the highway and Melbourne Street in East Maitland and High Street in Central Maitland being hot spots.
A dedicated antiquer, local resident Clare Dunnicliff is a self confessed second hand junkie, who spends much of her time trawling local op shops and antique stores.
‘It’s not a head decision, it’s always a heart decision for junk, and it’s something that speaks to you about something in your past, something in your childhood or something about who you are now’, Clare said.
An op shop tour of Central Maitland could begin at the bottom end of High Street at St Vincent de Paul, winding its way through independent stores, the Lifeline’s, Father Reilly’s and Red Cross’ of The Levee precinct, before wrapping up at the Presbyterian Op Shop at the top end of town.
Some of the best treasures can be found in some of the most unlikely suburban locations. But regardless of whether your next purchase comes from the Vinnies $2.00 bin, an independent retailer or national chain store, there are plenty of shopping options for you to find that perfect something.