The Business of the Bush

Lisa 2

The Business of the Bush

How many times have you walked into an outback business, and walked out knowing the owners name, pets, birthday, best friend, and how many times you should water your roses? I am guessing a LOT. And the reason for that? We LOVE it!

Now, we all know it takes an extraordinary person to want to run a business in the outback, (I mean, some mornings your first customer is a face full of 40-degree dust), so we consider ourselves pretty darn lucky to have a town full of just these kinds of people.

To celebrate the business of the bush, and to showcase the faces behind them, we’ve been interviewing local business owners about just what makes it all so special and unique (Hint* It’s the people). Here’s just a few…

Susie Picone

Mum of Two | Livestock Nutritionist | Co-Owner of Western Head Grazing | Owner and Head Seamstress of Bunny & Doll

“I started Bunny & Doll because I wanted to do something a bit more creative and something practical that would be good for my growing family, it’s amazing to be able to provide products and services locally and being able to give back to the community that supports you. Everyone has more than just one thing on the burner so when you buy locally you’re supporting more than just one industry. There’s always a bit more to the store than just the business front, you get to know the people behind it and their story.”

Chris Kadel & Boyd Johnstone

Barcoo Independent Secretary & Councillor | Avid Gardeners | JCUni Graduates | Owners of The Lodge on Hawthorn

“It was always our dream to create a beautiful space where people would go for a meal and something a bit unique and special. We started our business in the middle of our worst drought and because of the amazing support and resilience of the community it has just flourished and honestly the best part of our day is seeing the regulars – they come in for a morning coffee and stay for two hours.”

Lex Russell

Bachelor of Health Science | One of six kids | Grazier at Swan Hill Cattle Co | Owner of The Drawing Board Blackall

“Outback businesses are unique, they have a different atmosphere and vibe. I’d always thought it would be fun to own a boutique so when the opportunity came up to buy The Drawing Board I grabbed it – it’s such a great business and it really had a place in town, it brought a lot to the area. I love my job, I say it to everyone but the customers are the best, they’re so friendly and always want a chat.”

Duncan & Jane Scobie

Former ringer/station manager & Councillor | Six horses & five dogs | Married 25 years and two kids | Owners of Scobie Saddlery

“The whole day is great. The people you meet and the day to day customers. Every day is a challenge because you never know what will walk through the door. I guess having a saddlery is a bit different to other businesses because our customers are all likeminded so we get to spend our days meeting and talking to people that have the same interests.
The best part? I just think this is a really supportive district, people support and back each other. Its a really solid community and we’re proud that, as a business that opened at the start of drought, we are still here and can still provide a good service.”

Cherie Macdonald

Avid gardener | Part time Grazier and bookkeeper at Gillespie Grazing Co | Wife and mum of Winnie the kelpie | Owner of ALEXIS DAWN

“People in the outback are much more relaxed and patient and it’s rewarding to be able to bring them unique and beautiful things, they appreciate the quality and the story, and genuinely enjoy supporting people in the outback. I get to bring beautiful things to women in the country and I try to focus on timeless styles that don’t date. It started as just a sideline hobby – now it’s grown to a bricks and mortar store in the Main Street. It’s so great spending my days getting to catch up with people in the community.”

Lisa Alexander

Wife & mother of two | Cultural Association member | Founder of Lisa Alexander Photography

“I was always ‘that kid’ at school taking photos, even as I got older I would be out on the horses and have a DSLR in my saddle bag. My first proper photography job was photographing a friend’s wedding – I was absolutely terrified! But it all went well and the business kind of just evolved from there. The communities of the Central West have been so supportive. I love everything about what I do; meeting different people, creating something that can be treasured forever, and documenting this particular lifestyle.
Having an outback business is definitely unique simply because of the distance, but with the technology and resources we have we’re definitely not disadvantaged at all, if anything it’s a bonus because we get to be more involved and connected with our clients and community. Distance really is no barrier out here.”

Sarina & Grant Keuenhoff

Married four years | Ex Sydney-siders | Bunnies (NRL) Supporters | Parents to Ruby the Chihuahua | Owners of Union Hotel Blackall

“The town was the real motivation to buy the pub here, it just felt right, we looked around a few places but this was definitely the place. It’s so different out here (compared to the city), everyone will just talk to anyone and we’re all up for a chat. It’s such a different, more relaxed, lifestyle. We really love giving the community somewhere to go and they’re so good to us, we really appreciate their support – we wouldn’t be here without it. The best part is always chatting to everyone, we get all the updates on exciting times like babies arriving and weddings! We wouldn’t change a thing, regardless of covid, we’re just happy to be here.”


I guess you could say that business is #betterinblackall

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