ONE of Julia Creek’s home grown women has come back to her roots and opened up a brand new store in the small town selling Aussie made and designed clothes.
Amanda Stevens grew up just outside of Julia Creek at cattle station Edith Downs, where she lived until her early 20s before flying the coop and heading to Townsville.
There, she has worked for 16 years in the real estate industry doing new home sales, and commercial property management and sales.
It was only in the last few years which Amanda said she started getting itchy feet, and when faced with the choice to either move to Brisbane or move back home, she packed her bags and headed west to open Gravel and Grace.
Now in its fifth week of business, she said the business has been incredibly well-received by the public, who were relieved to see Amanda purchase the store and give it a re-brand and facelift.
“It’s been really well received in the community and I think people were really happy to see the business continue and provide that service to the community,” Amanda said.
“The business hasn’t just shut the doors and left a vacant site in a small town which you often see.”
She said with inquiries coming in from near and far, she is hoping to open an online store soon, but is currently gauging the interest in what she is offering so she can hone in on what will be her core lines.
Currently there is a range of mens and womens clothing, kids clothing, togs, hats and boots, accessories and some homewares.
When naming the store Amanda said she wanted something which reflected the people of Julia Creek.
“I wanted a name that was feminine, masculine, dirty, and clean,” she laughed.
“There’s a lot of people out here who work really hard outside, it’s dirty, it’s hard, it’s sweaty, but then there’s times when everyone dresses up and looks amazing so it needed to reflect that – with the gravel, and the grace.”
Walking around the store, it is clear to see Amanda has a focus on Australian brands.
“I’m really wanting to push the Australian designed and made products, so I do have brands like Gumnut Designz, there’s also Sage Designs who is a Mt Isa designer,” Amanda said.
“It’s really supporting those Australian designers, Australian-made products.
“There’s so much talent in our area whether it’s clothing, photography, art, craft – there’s a bit of everything that I really want to be able to support, especially in the tourist season.”
Amanda is still a country girl at heart, and said moving back to her hometown not to a station, but to live in town was a struggle at first.
“On the weekend I do look forward to putting on my jeans and hat and heading back to the property,” she said.
“That’s why I did come back – being able to see my mum and see my sisters more frequently.
“This way I can get back into the campdrafting and that rural lifestyle which I’ve always loved.
“It’s nice to be back home.”