Much loved business closes shop amid economic pressure
AFTER nearly 18 years in Kingaroy Shopping world, Christine Littlejohns has decided to call it a day, selling her remaining stock at The Look.
The decision had been on the cards for about 12 months, however the tough future for the retail industry and the added pressure of coronavirus caused Mrs Littlejohns to close her much loved store.
Mrs Littlejohns said after so long in the one place, she is looking forward to a break.
"It's exciting to be moving onto something new, however it is still very daunting not knowing what I am doing afterwards," Mrs Littlejohns said.
"I have been in the retail game a long time and after being in one place serving people every day, I have a lot of good memories and also a lot of bad ones.
"With COVID at the moment I think now really is the right time to move on, the foreseeable economic future in retail won't be great as a result of the pandemic."
Mrs Littlejohns's retail journey began 17 years ago when she took over a Klein's franchise and after five years, they went into receivership leaving Mrs Littlejohns high and dry.
Out of this receivership came The Look, a unique fashion business that focused on staying local and stocking rare one of a kind items.
Mrs Littlejohns said one of the highlights in her retail journey was seeing the smiles on people's faces.
"The last six months where people have really supported me during the pandemic would have to be some of the things that make me feel like I have achieved something," she said.
"Customers were coming in and buying things, asking how I was coping and were genuinely interested in talking to me.
"I would say one of the most rewarding parts was after taking on dance wear and seeing the smiles on the little girls faces when they put on ballet shoes and I could see how much they loved to dance.
"Seeing how passionate these girls were about dance and seeing people happy with customer service was definitely a highlight for me."
Mrs Littlejohns said it was tough to compete with the buying power of some of the bigger retail stores.
"I have always tried to stock items that are unique to the area and with four fashion shops in the centre trying to stay afloat was never easy," Mrs Littlejohns said.
"Some of the other stores were able to have regular sales as they had bigger buying power and would get a lot of their garments cheaper from overseas.
"I didn't have that luxury, I bought most my items from Brisbane and with the pandemic the freight charges just skyrocketed."
The Look was also one of the only stores in the region to stock body jewellery and specific dance wear.
Mrs Littlejohns said stocking dance items was a big boost for her business.
"Dance has been a big plus for both the business and dance mums in the region as they wouldn't have to travel to Toowoomba to get dance wear," Mrs Littlejohns said.
"Dance brought people into my shop, which exposed a lot of people to some of the other stock I had.
"I will be running a Dance pop up shop in the mall until Christmas to try and sell off all of the dance stock and then am hoping another business will take over selling dance wear."
The Look currently has a 50 per cent off store wide sale excluding dance wear.