Taking stock of the importance of the general store to community life are Chillingham Village Store Owners John and Dorothy Wag
Taking stock of the importance of the general store to community life are Chillingham Village Store Owners John and Dorothy Wag

Tough life but store owners are happy



LIFE has taken a very different turn for John Wager since he sold his prawn trawler and bought the Chillingham Village Store.

Together with his wife Dorothy, they work long hours, seven days a week, operating the historic outlet.

But Mr Wager said he does not mind, because he knows the store is a vital community hub for locals.

"I'm up at 5.30am every day to go into Murwillumbah to collect the papers, bread and anything else we need," he said.

"We close, on average, at 7pm every night, so it's a long day, but that is part of the job.

"The store is kind of a meeting spot for locals.

"Everybody knows our name and we know everybody's name."

Selling everything from petrol, LPG gas, to groceries and alcohol, papers and magazines, the Village Store is also the Post Office for Chillingham and surrounds.

Recent research into the shopping habits of Australians found more people shop at local community stores than at supermarkets.

The survey found the community store accounts for about $14.7 billion of the national retail spending market.

Convenience was the key to the success of the local store, according to the Newspoll survey, with more than 6000 community shops across the country, three times the number of supermarkets.

The success of the local store also has to do with its place in the community.

"They (the community stores) inhabit an emotional place close to the heart of the average household," the study's writer, Bernard Salt said.

? LEONIE BRANN



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