Family has vision for Pratten
IT may not be a boom-town quite yet, but Brett Tunbridge thinks Pratten is gaining some real community spirit, one step at a time.
Exactly one year has passed since he and his family opened the only shop in town.
He’s realistic about trade but what motivates him and his wife Sophya, is bringing the community together.
Now, as he puts the finishing touches to Pratten’s first bar since 1926, he hopes he can take that ambition one step further and make a success out of the premises he has built completely by himself.
“Pratten’s is a place of locked gates.
“People have lived here for 15 years and had nothing to do with anyone else in the village.
“Now they come to the shop and they meet someone else.
“I think in the last 12 months or so, it’s starting to get a real community feel.”
A new community newsletter, an array of art and craft classes, and the soon-to-be-opened bar certainly seem to be breathing some life into Pratten.
The family is truly an inspiration. After losing their son in a car crash, they somehow managed to put their lives back together and continue to follow their dreams.
Now Mrs Tunbridge is five months pregnant, following the birth of Ruby Rose one year ago. Mr Tunbridge just has to fit his bar-top and get a final inspection for his liquor licence, then he’ll be happy to open his doors at last.
“It’s been hard work doing it all ourselves, but we’re getting there,” he said.
As for his first year in business, there have been ups and downs, but he’s philosophical about the learning curve.
“We now know a lot more about the shopping habits of the people in Pratten.
“We never expected to compete with the big supermarkets, we just wanted to be a typical convenience store.
“The increase on tax on cigarettes has hurt us, just as it’s hurt all shops.
“People would come in before and buy cigarettes and a bar of chocolate and a drink.
“Now it’s just for cigarettes.”
But the innovative entrepreneur was quick to introduce new drawcards by serving tea and coffee and says his hot pies go down well with his customers.
“We get a lot of people coming through town from Warwick and the tea and coffee has proved popular with them,” he said.