The loyalty of local shoppers has given Narrabri business owners plenty to smile about this festive season.

“I had the best Christmas, record-breaking sales,” said The Grayhound proprietor Shawn Wales who has run her beautiful retail store for 16 years.

“I am in awe of everyone’s support and so thankful to be part of this community.

“I adore my customers, and I really enjoy getting to know them.

“This is more than just a shop for me; it’s about being a part of someone’s life and listening to them and getting to know them.

“Then you can also help people find the perfect gift or something for themselves to take home because you know their style and taste a little bit better.”

It’s a wonderfully warm and personal shopping experience that customers (and shop assistants) won’t find online.

Of course, The Grayhound is also famous for its gorgeous gift-wrapping and providing the best-looking parcels to place under the Christmas tree.

“We do put a lot of effort and money into the wrapping; we love it when the customers say, ‘I’ll come back later to collect it’ because it means we’ve got more time to make the present look special.

“It’s the first year we’ve run out of Christmas paper actually, it was so popular – but we found some more.

“I like to think of the wrapping as my gift back to the customer.”

Mrs Wales said she’s noticed more confidence and activity down the main street since the drought and said she is incredibly grateful to the region’s residents for supporting local businesses despite the ongoing challenges of COVID and floods.

“I didn’t know what to expect in terms of sales at Christmas, and I would have been happy to accept the same as the year before after everything we’ve been through.

“I’ve just been blown out of the water.”

And it seems everyone in the family was able to snag a present from The Grayhound because Mrs Wales said she couldn’t pick a Christmas best-seller, explaining the home décor, wooden children’s toys, giftware, and women’s fashion were all popular items.

Mrs Wales not only credited customer loyalty for her record sales, but also highlighted the positive impact of local radio and newspaper advertising along with her decision to move The Grayhound to the main block.

“We’ve been established in Narrabri for five years now and we’ve rearranged the store a bit too, which has helped. I advertised in The Guide, which goes to Gunnedah as well and I had one customer call from there asking about the ‘Charlie Bears’.

“She’s a collector and previously was going all the way to Newcastle to buy them, but then she saw we were stockists too – so that’s been a good connection.

“It’s been a wonderful season, good for the businesses we have down the main street, and we just want to say a huge thank you to our customers from around the region, far and wide.”

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