Boost for Briag with new one-stop shop thriving

Liz Bell

IT’S hard not to notice the changes at the Briagolong Post Office and General Store in recent times.

New managers Jon and Sandra Knowles have taken on the challenge of building up the business, restocking it with a range of fresh produce and grocery lines, and returning it to the essential service it once was.

The feedback has been instant, with townsfolk loving the opportunity to pick up their mail, shop locally for daily essentials, and have a chat to one of the friendly staff.

Sandra, who still works part time as a nurse, said she and Jon had long pondered whether an opportunity would come up to take on the store, so when it did, they didn’t hesitate for long.

The store is one of two Briagolong buildings recently bought by a local businessman with an altruistic desire to breathe some life back into the town and help the local economy – and it appears to be working.

The café around the corner that closed last year is now under new management and doing a roaring trade, while the post office and general store is a go-to store again after waiting for someone with new ideas and energy to take it on.

Jon and Sandra said they were loving the challenge and the response from locals.

“We knew it had potential and we live in Briagolong, so there were things we knew we wanted to see here,” she said.

“As soon as we took over and restocked, people started coming here again and it’s been quite busy, much to our surprise.”

‘Quite busy’ is actually about 100-plus customer visits a day, with that number jumping to more than 200 a day during the recent long weekend.

Although they started pretty much from scratch, with little retail experience, the Knowles’ have adapted well to running a general store and post office.

The have made a commitment to support other local businesses, and source much of their produce from local suppliers.

The fully stocked shelves and fridges are now packed with a good range of local cheeses, dairy, fruits and vegetables, fresh breads, pies and other baked goods.

But the Briagolong Post Office and General Store is much more than just a one-stop shop, once again operating as a community hub and a place to seek out a friendly face, information and support.