The past 12 months has seen increased migration of city folk to rural and regional Australia. The new owners of the Kinghorne Street General Store are no exception.
Lee and Janenne Mulreay recently moved to Goulburn for a "lifestyle change" with their three children: Garry, Arthur and Frankie.
New research released on February 22 by the Regional Australia Institute (RAI) showed one-in-five city residents were looking to move to regional Australia, with more than half wanting to make the jump within the next 12-months.
For one of Goulburn's newest families the decision was a simple one.
Lee said his family sought a "country lifestyle where our kids could be involved in the community".
"We felt we had lost touch with people when we lived in Sydney," he said.
For Lee the move reconnected him to his roots. Lee's parents ran a convenience store in Manchester, England for 15 years.
The pair took over the Kinghorne Street shop more than four weeks ago from Pamela 'Pam' and Malcolm "Mal' Hartford. Pam and Mal, also from the UK, retired on February 16 after running the old fashioned general store for six years.
The general store stocks essentials including a selection of lollies, and sells freshly made sandwiches, coffee, burgers and more.
So far the couple's favourite aspect of the job has been getting to know their customers. So much so, that they are now an emergency contact for an elderly woman who lives nearby.
Lee said his family loved the area and when the opportunity arose to take over the store, "it all aligned".
He said the shop was something the community "loved and respected".
"The shop as it stands is amazing and we are not going to change anything at the moment," he said.
"We want to become a part of the Goulburn community.
"It's crazy how busy the shop gets."
Lee stressed that the same staff would prepare the same recipes for the same menu. He said the previous owners had spent three weeks teaching them the ropes.
The research revealed the positives of life outside cities resonated with people. It showed 77 per cent of potential movers saw space and connection to nature as reasons to shift. The improved general well-being that regional life offered was also major drawcard for three-quarters of those surveyed.
While the COVID pandemic has significantly raised the desire to move to regional Australia for 22 per cent of survey respondents, more than half said they were already considering relocation before the pandemic.
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