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Oh, the treasures you’ll find! 9 plus reasons to shop local this Christmas

By Vanessa Wiltshire

City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O’Rourke is encouraging people to shop locally this Christmas as new figures reveal for every $100 spent at a local business, up to $70 stays in the local community.

For townships such as Heathcote and those surrounding it, spending locally is the one of the most powerful investments you can make in the community. This is compared to injecting only $3 into the local community when people buy from online shops located outside Greater Bendigo.

The McIvor Times visited several businesses in Heathcote and one in Axedale, to find out what’s popular and what the local bargains are Christmas.

The list is by no means exhaustive, so get out there and have fun discovering what our community has to offer.

Helen Byrne – Bra Fit Specialist (Intimo)

Just about every woman in Axedale who has ever bought lingerie has met or knows of Helen Byrne.

A bra fit specialist with Australian company Intimo, Helen has welcomed hundreds of women into her funky vintage caravan for private fittings. She has also helped raise thousands of dollars for charity over the years.

“Christmas is as much about self-care as it is about giving to others,” Helen said. “We have lots of beautiful products this summer, and of course, gift vouchers. But I’d like to encourage women to think of themselves too. Why not buy yourself something you wouldn’t normally buy? When we feel great, the energy flows into other areas of our lives.”

Phone 0418 813 554 or send a message via Helen’s Facebook page, ‘The Bra Van'.

Sonya Browne — Sonya’s Something Special

The Body Shop’s White Musk is an iconic fragrance that takes many a woman in her 40s back to the Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit era.

Happily Body Shop is continuing to produce White Musk, plus a huge collection of hair, body and skincare.

Axedale’s Sonya Byrne said she chose to become a Body Shop representative because of company values.

“I always knew if I did a ‘party plan’, it would be something like the Body Shop,” Sonya said. “It’s a global company which believes business can be a force for good. They are ethical, sustainable and use recycled plastics.

“Check out Body Shop lip balms — all your favourite flavours from the 1990s — skincare and makeup, body care, haircare, men’s range and more.”

Phone Sonya on 0438 904 611 or find Sonya on Facebook at ‘Sonya’s Something Special'.

Heathcote Post Office

Much more than letters and newspapers, the Heathcote Post Office is a community-focused business, and offers a massive variety of kids’ toys, books and stationery.

Co-owner and operator Rhonda Linnell is a passionate supporters of PanCare, a not-for-profit pancreatic cancer organisation.

“We are running a large community raffle with lots of local products,” Rhonda said.

“Several Heathcote businesses are participating, and the winners will be drawn on January 26, 2020.

“There's also some beautiful PanCare merchandise to help to raise much-needed funds for one of the world’s most deadly cancers.”

¦ Send a letter to Santa

Rhonda's husband, Brian, said mail to Santa is coming in steadily. "The best kinds of letters we receive are where kids thank Santa for last year's gifts. Or, they tell Santa not to worry about them this year and give their presents to a friend who is having a difficult time.”

Brian added he and Rhonda reply to every letter on behalf of Santa.

Heathcote Wine Hub

If you’ve noticed something different about the Heathcote Wine Hub, you’re right.

New proprietors Kate Candlish and Toby Burrows recently took the reins, and have opened the space up even further, to make the hub feel bright, spacious and airy.

In addition to stocking a large selection of Heathcote wines, local and imported beers, local ciders and local and international produce, they are also stocking gins from Heathcote and Kyneton.

Kate said the Wine Hub will be serving gin and tonics all summer, using organic tonic and local lemons.

“We are open from 10am Monday to Friday and from 9am Saturday and Sunday,” she said. "We are now open until 9pm every Friday evening.”

Come and enjoy the garden in the lead-up to Christmas — and all summer long — and just unwind.

Court House Crafts

With the #BuyFromTheBush sensation sweeping Australia, Court House Crafts is a gorgeous offering of Heathcote’s own handmade items. There is also a fantastic selection of wool, fabric and haberdashery.

And then there's the antiques collection, especially homewares, which may just be the solution for a difficult-to-buy-for person.

Swirls Gifts and Décor

Jodi Warren and her small team always offer a big smile and friendly welcome. They have a wide variety of homewares and New Age products, including crystals, books and CDs.

Whether you’re after something witchy, whimsical or wise, Swirls is a great place to start.

HQV Bargains

You never know what you might find at HQV, and this is what keeps people coming back.

Need last-minute tinsel and Christmas decorations? You'll find it. Art and craft supplies to keep the kids entertained during the holidays? It's all there. Kitchen utensils, pet products, candles, even underwear? Check, Check, Check and check.

Retail assistant Samantha King is always happy to help and offers great service.

Doll House Hair Design

Doll House Hair Design owner Tahnee Rowe and her team are super stylish, yet as down to earth as they come.

Always giving a fab cut and colour, the studio is about way more than hair.

The Doll House annual giveaway is Tahnee's biggest yet. "We are giving 60 prizes to lucky customers; haircare, handmade accessories and more,” she said.

As stockists of Australian lipstick label Suzi Shanghai, it’s difficult to say no when the creamy, colourful sticks are $18 a pop.

Grab some scrunchies, head scarves and handmade accessories for stocking fillers — or even for yourself.

Pure Indulgence Hair and Beauty

Nails, nails and nails. Glitter, chrome, gloss? Whether you’re after red nails or green, perhaps something in between, Pure Indulgence Hair and Beauty has you covered.

Owner Kim Dempster has been on the High St for nearly 20 years and operates one of Heathcote’s longest-running businesses.

Both she and her team offer a variety of beauty and hair services, including spray tanning, waxing and hairdressing.

Whether you want to treat yourself or grab a gift voucher for someone you love, Pure Indulgence Hair and Beauty is a one-stop shop.

Rutherford and Maine

Peter Maine and his wife, Judy, took a rundown heritage cottage on Heathcote’s High St and converted it into a fresh and welcoming open-plan space, replete with a café, homewares and fashion items.

“We combined more than 30 years of hospitality, tourism and retail marketing experience into a beautiful ‘mini-emporium’ we are proud to bring to Heathcote and call our own,” Peter said.

“There's plenty of stock which can be sent overseas for Christmas, quite easily,” he said.

“We have gorgeous Australiana-themed Christmas baubles, which have been popular.

“Solmate cotton organic socks are literally walking out the door too. They are bright and colourful, and no two socks, nor pairs, are the same.

“We are also finding picnicware is doing well. travel cups and flasks can carry wine and keep it cool for up to 24 hours.”

The McIvor Times was not able to get everywhere and is conscious many businesses offer great product and services. We also recommend checking out Mitre 10, Heart Land and Spirit, Mudbrick Gallery and both florists: Little Birdie Florist and Fresh Flowers. The IGA also stocks a fantastic variety of meats, food and beverages.