Emerald Beach general store revamped

Hugh and Louis Riley out the front of their Emerald Beach convenience store. Image: Coffs Coast Advocate, Trevor Veale.


Two brothers from Emerald Beach in the NSW North Coast are making plans to revitalise an old convenience store.

Having purchased the store in the beginning of July, 27 year old Louis and 29 year old Hugh Riley have gotten on board with the trend of removing single-use plastic bags and cigarettes from the store.

The brothers said they shared the idea of keeping the nostalgia alive but adding on a fresh spin to the store.

“There will be a lot more fresh food and less lollies,” Louis told Coffs Coast Advocate.

“We’ve still got a few [plastic] bags and darts,” he said.

In conversation with C&I Retailing Hugh said he and Louis had grown up in the area and for a period of 15 years that the family had lived there, the store had come up for sale three or four times.

“Ten years later my brother and I have been in hospo the entire time, the opportunity came up and they gave us call. My dad called and said and we needed to talk to each other and after about two minutes we were all in,” he said

The brothers said they were inspired by other stores who had already been making these changes such as Woolgoolga’s Ground Earth cafe and Boomerang Bags as both have been cutting down on their use of plastic bags and waste.

Hugh said at the moment the store is using Boomerang bags, bags made locally from donated fabrics, the idea being that they are given out for customers to use and then returned.

They are also looking into alternatives like paper bags, trying to use as much recycled paper as possible.

The store will join major supermarket retails Woolworths, Coles and IGA who have all announced that they will stop providing single-use plastic bags for customers.

The decision to not stock or sell cigarettes was to create a café culture that reflected the brother’s healthy eating values.“At the moment it’s a general store and a

“At the moment it’s a general store and a take away shop and we’re turning it more into a cafe style. A few of the simple changes we’ve made already is putting stuff in nice take away boxes instead of just wrapping it. We’ve added a few new plants and furniture to the outdoor areas and few umbrellas as well,” Hugh said.

Hugh said they had also received a lot of offers from locals who were willing to assist in their set up.

“New bench tops, big bi-fold sliding doors, we grew up here so we know a lot of people,” Hugh said.

“[We’re] trying to create an atmosphere down here, that draws people in and makes them want to hang out.

“We’ve very happy to help the locals out and get them through, be good and give back to them.”

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