April was well and truly a month of ups and downs for Wagga’s local businesses.
On one hand, it was a month of new beginnings for many new business owners setting up shop in Central with exciting new ventures.
Dynamic mother-daughter duo Vicki Keogh and Tahlia Harrison were settling into Rabbit Books, their new eclectic bookstore meets art gallery on Johnston Street.
“We’re both painters and love to read, so we thought by combining those passions with chocolate, cheese, wine and a few books that we could create something incredible here in Wagga,” Ms Harrison said.
At the same time, brothers Volkan and Gokhan Lacin were serving up their very first quirky pizzas at Sanjos, testing out toppings including mac ‘n’ cheese and Sunday roast.
“The menu is absolutely crazy – you wouldn’t think some of these toppings work, but they do,” they said.
On the other hand, April served up some serious blows to business owners throughout the city.
Cobbler Road was forced to hire additional staff after children as young as eight began stealing their goods.
“Everyone seems to be having the same issue, and there’s not a lot we can do,” owner Hayley Veitch said.
Over in East Wagga, the Jump’n’Putt indoor trampoline centre was forced to close its doors after being refused insurance coverage.
“It’s the worst possible timing for us – coming out of the summer months is when we’re busiest, right through until September,” owner Luke Maloney said.
If one good thing came out of it all, it was the conversation around supporting local business that followed.
“They need support and encouragement,” Tim McMullen of the Business Chamber said. “It’s not a positive thing for anyone having people wandering through town and seeing empty shop after empty shop.”
The house the Eagle family built:
In April, we introduced you to the Eagles, a Gumly Gumly family on a mission to build their very own sustainable house exclusively out of shipping containers and recyclable materials.
Back in April, the Eagles had a big idea and a few empty shipping containers sitting on their block. Now, their dream home is almost complete.
“You could blame some of the lifestyle TV shows for it,” Luke Eagle told The Daily Advertiser back in April.
“We’d seen it done a few times and thought it was pretty cool. The recyclable thing is something we really thought we have an affinity with.”
Checking in eight months later, Tash Eagle said they had made a lot of progress since the start of the year.
“We’ve had all the walls constructed, we’ve fitted out the entire inside except for the en-suites, and then we can get to painting the outside,” Ms Eagle said.
“We just wanted it to be a bit different and we absolutely love it – most homes are brick and mortar, and we just didn’t want to do that.”
The house has certainly garnered plenty of interest from the community, with people driving by almost every day.
Ms Eagle said the project was never about saving money – the family’s main goal was to create a house that promoted sustainable living. So far, they are right on track.
“In terms of the heating and cooling, it’s been really efficient. Throughout winter, we only had a tiny pot belly stove, and that kept the house quite warm, because it’s insulated and all of the windows are double glazed,” she said.
”The big cement wall in the middle is really amazing and has actually helped to keep the house cool, so the big test now will be seeing how we go in summer.”
The best part to date? The satisfaction the Eagles have gotten from building the home together as a family.
“Every day the kids say ‘We love our home, we love that we did it together’, and our six-year-old tells everyone that he built it,” Ms Eagle said.
“That brings a lot of joy for us – to be able to say we did it as a family.”