Inspired by the mixed retail stores she loved in Melbourne, Debra Lawson opened her own ‘mini department store’ in the heart of Nambour, specializing in plant-based and cruelty-free products.
Ms Lawson moved to the outback town of the Victorian capital four years ago, enchanted by the quirky community of Nambour.
The former presenter of Channel 31’s On The Couch opened the doors to Gatherer on Howard St in Nambour just over a week ago.
The Gatherer stocks a wide range of cruelty-free, plant-based groceries, including meal kits, pantry goods, chocolate and candies
She also sells fair trade clothing and shoes, all made from sustainable materials, as well as skincare and jewelry.
“I love shoes,” she says.
“I have these beautiful shoes from For Your Earth – a French brand – which use recycled bottles and rubber materials. They are really colourful, everyday sneakers.
She says the little store is a combination of all the things she loves.
“I used to work in fashion in Melbourne, buying and running a store,” says Ms Lawson.
“Being a vegan myself and loving cruelty-free products, it brings all of these passions together under one roof.”
Ms Lawson says Nambour reminded her of Brunswick St in Melbourne.
“Nambour is very much like Melbourne in its industrial aspect, the light rail line is about to restart and the area where I am is very busy and I like feeling connected to the community,” she says.
Ms Lawson thinks people want to know the origin of what they buy more than ever.
“There’s something for everyone. The shop is about living well – it’s a message for everyone – knowing where things come from and appreciating beautiful things with kindness is Gatherer’s motto.
Ms Lawson says she has noticed the pandemic affecting foot traffic in Nambour, but hopes people will soon start returning to brick-and-mortar stores.
“Please support local. There are so many lovely little independent retailers owning and running businesses on the Sunny Coast who, now more than ever, need your support.”
The Gatherer is located at 1 Howard St, Nambour