A former Yass Valley Information Centre employee has set up her own store in Binalong to promote local products and tourism.
Cathy Kerslake opened the doors to The Old Produce Store Binalong on July 25.
She believes in tourism without borders and will support producers and artisans within a two-hour radius of the village, from winemakers in Murrumbateman to artists in Crookwell and beekeepers in Young.
At 25 Fitzroy Street, Binalong, shoppers will currently find 3D wooden kangaroos, echidnas and wombats by the Gundaroo Puzzler; merino wool beanies by Samantha Longmore from Binalong; honey and beeswax by Queen of Hearts Honey Co. in Yass; and olive oil from Cootamundra.
There are also belts, tea towels, ceramics, prints, jewelry and paintings, all made locally.
Ms Kerslake and her partner Nadja Zoffmann love to cook and have even gone as far as to make a range of products that showcase Binalong's heritage.
The Binalong Bushranger Blend of products include relishes, pickles, billy tea, liquorice bullets and mandles (man candles), among others.
The store is also home to two of local artist Roger Buckman's iconic sheep, the Binalong mural and a chalk painted wall to feature local experiences on, such as the 'top five things to do in Binalong'.
"People want to discover new areas and we're hoping that our store will be similar to a permanent Saturday market," she said.
Ms Kerslake said she will always be on the look out for new products.
"Binalong is also known for having the best country pub, Peter Minson Art Glass, the Binalong Motor Museum, general store and petrol station, post office, Cafe on Queen, 18-hole golf club and the best butcher in Australia, famous for his parliamentary Binalong Bangers!"
Ms Kerslake plans on opening a regional cellar door at the back of the store and holding workshops with the producers.
"We'll hold them at the Binalong Mechanic's Institute Hall. We're planning one to teach people how to cook with honey and may do one on how to knit these big rugs," she said.
Ms Kerslake moved from Bundanoon to Binalong just under a year ago and fell in love with the region.
"Binalong is country Australia at its very best and our store aims to keep that spirit and our regional businesses and creators alive!" she said.
However, as with starting any new business, opening The Old Produce Store Binalong had its ups and downs.
"From being outsiders who came to Binalong just under a year ago, it was touch and go. We bought the local Thompson's Rural Supplies building and soon after they moved out due to a lack of sales," Ms Kerslake said.
"There was a misconception with a lot of the town that we had pushed them out. So, in some parts, we weren't the most favoured newcomers.
"But the best of the locals stuck by us and have now become like family."
The Old Produce Store Binalong is open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm and is also online at www.theoldproducestorebinalong.com.au
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