Not long ago, Angela Schiffke, 31, and her husband, an English teacher, had itchy feet and thought of going overseas. Instead they thought an interstate move would do.
"We decided that going to Melbourne would be like being overseas," she says. "I'd been there once and loved it and had some friends down there, so we moved there for a year."
With Angela working in administration, the couple rented a tiny flat and Angela spent her spare time walking around the surrounding suburbs of Richmond, Fitzroy, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Brunswick.
"I loved Fraus Creperie in North Melbourne, Rose Street Artist Markets in Fitzroy, and shopping in Brunswick and on Smith Street and Flinders Lane in the city," she says.
As she walked the cobble-stoned footpaths, all the creativity seeped into her pores, and on a return trip to her hometown, Toowoomba, Angela got thinking. How could she bring some of Melbourne's thriving creative culture here?
"Something like this was missing in Toowoomba, but I thought the town could be receptive to it, so I decided to take a chance," she says.
With retail experience already under her belt and a degree in international and public relations, too, Angela decided to open a store front. Market to Market opened officially on November 4th, 2011.
"My hope is that it's successful, not necessarily financially, although that would be nice, but that it develops a good reputation, a loyal customer base, and that it opens people's eyes to what local and national artists, designers and crafty people can make," says Angela.
"Hopefully people realise that you can get great stuff from a small, independent store instead of having to go to a mall."
|Angela at her shiny new store. Come one, come all!|
Market to Market relocated last week to its new home on Margaret Street with a morning tea party (scones, brownies, chocolate layer cake and cupcakes were offered) to celebrate.
"The new store is much more spacious and airy!" she says. "It's nice and open and lots more people can fit. The stock is the same, basically, but we will be getting a lot more new things soon."
Locals have thus far been supportive of this new hub, with regulars popping in to peruse Angela's shelves on their lunch breaks and others checking the Facebook page for stock updates (this morning it's Mr Bucket t-shirts for guys).
Angela recommends visiting Toowoomba, which is a two-hour drive from Brisbane, during spring or summer to see its beautiful gardens at its best, while the Carnival of Flowers in September is not to be missed. There's hope that, with the likes of Angela seeding their talents, a post-flood Toowoomba will soon start to thrive.
"I think Toowoomba is definitely going to be a hub for culture and the arts soon," says Angela. "We have a lot of creative people here who are drawn by the affordable housing and community feel, and they have really started to make things happen. There's lots of new galleries, cafes and other things happening that will attract more like-minded people."
Market to Market is located at Shop 1, 188-192 Margaret Street, Toowoomba.
Girl With a Satchel