Gravel & Grace – A business transformation | Frontline Stores Australia

Meet Amanda from Gravel & Grace. Amanda is a true retail success story. She saw the potential in a weary old rural business and turned it into something fabulous. Read on to learn more about this amazing transformation…

One ending is another’s beginning.

Coleman’s Drapery had experienced many a golden year being the “one stop shop” for residents of Julia Creek and the surrounding region, supplying them with everything from saddles to sheet sets. The increasing accessibility of products through the internet and the majors had unfortunately seen Colemans Drapery’s title as THE place to shop gradually slip away, and with battle-weary owners approaching retirement, the decision was made to sell the business.

Seeing the potential no one else can see.

Weathered, worn and with stock badly in need of a refresh, Colemans Drapery had been written off by many as just another unsalvageable local business. The sun-baked sign was teetering on it’s mount, just as the long serving custodians teetered on the hope it wouldn’t become just another vacant building.
Whether it was her 17 years in commercial real estate, or her sentimental ties to the area, Amanda somehow was able to see past the chipped paint and dated décor to a glimpse of the future that awaited her.

Every adventure is worth exploring

Inspired by a vision of the unseen potential of the old Colemans Drapery site, Amanda knew it was an adventure worth exploring. Knowing the success of any business lies with meeting the needs of the potential customer base, Amanda sought about engaging the community in her planning process. Full of ideas collected in living and travelling both within cities & overseas, Amanda could foresee what was possible, but needed guidance to pick the possible that fulfilled the greatest need.

A retail success story is so much more than just a building to sell stock.

Amanda’s wealth of experience had taught her that a successful business is so much more than just the premises it operates from. Having extensively researched her potential market, Amanda was beginning to envisage the type of business that would best attract her target customer, but needed to be able to convey that effectively. She knew that creating an effective brand is the easiest way to get a message across quickly and inspire potential customers to engage with you. After exhaustive development, the brand “Gravel & Grace” was born and the direction of the business was beginning to come clear.

People from the country enjoy being “pretty” too.

Gravel & Grace brings together two distinct characteristics of the local area. “Gravel” represents the harsh conditions challenging the local farming communities daily and “Grace” depicts the beauty surrounding the community, both within the people themselves and in the natural environment of the surrounds. Amanda wanted to build a business that embraced BOTH sides, and assisted the
local community in bringing their inner beauty out and showcasing
it to the world.

Nothing worthwhile ever came easy.

Without a limitless budget, bringing her vision to reality was never going to be an easy task. The carpet, paint and lighting was definitely past its prime, and the entire building needed updating to ensure the Gravel & Grace retail experience was everything the branding intended.

As an expression of her love for her childhood town, Amanda sought to implement recycled materials from the around local area, but even these needed work to be repurposed.
This included:

  • Wooden sleepers from Helen Downs cattle station.
  • Recycled materials sourced from the shearing shed & quarters of Arizona Station.
  • Railway pins from local Colin Blacklock
  • Ornate pressed metal from local Janene Fegan
  • Pipe Fittings from Julia Creek Hardware.

Amanda became one of a renovation team of three working tirelessly to transform the building many had long written off. Everything from the floor and wall surfaces, to how product was displayed and presented, and to be rethought and then realised.

Put love into everything you do.

A business born out of Amandas love for the local area and community, deserved a launch that celebrated that love and shared it with the local community. At 4pm on Friday the 27th of September, in front of an excited crowd, the ribbon was cut, the paper obscuring the windows torn down and a community embraced a new business. Broadcast live on the brands Facebook page, the video has now been watched by over 3,400 viewers in just over a week. One attendee at the opening described the event as being extremely moving “I got all emotional when I first walk through. Its inspiring to see the effort & love being put into the local community. It really is a beautiful store”.

There’s always a solution to any challenge.

With early indicators of the new venture being a success, we spoke with Amanda about what knowledge she could share with other business owners seeking to embark on similar projects.

Everything always looks so easy from the outside, but if you want to make anything work it requires planning, effort and love. I knew retailing would be a challenge so I ensured I had at least 6 months retail experience before planning my own enterprise. Probably my best advice is to always research and ask advice as it will either help you do things better or give you some new ideas.

Amanda | Gravel & Grace

FrontLine Stores is proud to support and work with independent retailers like Amanda, and give thme the edge they need to succeed in the ever changing retail environment. To speak to a FrontLine Stores expert CONTACT US


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