9 May 2023

2022 Year in Review: Doing business in the Riverina

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After a tough couple of years, business in the Riverina has begun to bounce back. In 2022, we reported on innovation, celebration – and some teenagers doing pretty spectacular things.

Read on to find out what was the most popular business story of the year.

14. At just 13, Sascha has hats and fashion on her mind
by Chris Roe

Girl with a hat

Sascha is just 13 but has launched her own line of hats and jewellery. Photo: Chris Roe.

With the countdown on to the Melbourne Cup and the Spring Racing Carnival in 2022, a young Wagga milliner was hoping her hats would make a splash at the track.

Sascha Coleman is just 13 but has launched her own business, ‘Studio Sash’, to sell her handmade hats, fascinators and jewellery to the Riverina’s fashionistas.

13. Veronica Collins’ grandchildren launch ‘deadly’ art business in her honour
by Oliver Jacques

Two children pose with art.

Marcus and Hayley Charles have been inspired by their grandmother. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Four grandchildren of the late Griffith Wiradjiri artist Veronica Collins have started a new art business in her honour.

Jacob, 17, Veronica-Ruby, 15, Hayley, 14, and Marcus, 11, have banded together to create ‘Deadly Bila Creations’. The enterprise produces logos, birthday cards, designs, chopping boards and other nicknacks, many with an Indigenous theme.

12. The best of what the region has to offer is all in one place at The Wagga Shop
by Chris Roe

woman in store

Visitor Services Operations Officer Sarah Myers at The Wagga Shop is helping out with original ideas for gifting. Photo: Chris Roe.

The Wagga Shop is all about showcasing what Riverina businesses have to offer.

It’s jam-packed with local produce from olive oils to clothing to boomerangs! We popped in to see what they’re all about.

11. Matt’s business has grown from ‘old and interesting’ to cutting edge metal art
by Chris Roe

Man in workshop

Matt Bye has turned his love of metal art into a booming business. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wagga’s Matt Bye has turned his love of metalwork, sculpture, antiques and old bits and pieces into a thriving business that he can barely keep up with.

The family-run Old n Dazed on Wagga’s Hammond Avenue is like an Aladdin’s cave packed with metal art, sculptures, signs, firepits and a random assortment of intriguing antiques.

10. From our television screens to behind the camera, Region’s Adam Drummond’s story comes full circle
by Katrina Condie

Adam on stage

Region Riverina commercial manager Adam Drummond has dived into his new role. Photo: Region.

With a larger-than-life personality, Adam Drummond has had a colourful career on and off the screen and he brings his passion for family and community to his role as Region Riverina’s commercial manager.

No stranger to the big screen, Adam Drummond has appeared in television dramas including Water Rats and All Saints, as well as dozens of TV commercials, and in 2013 he made his film debut in the Aussie cricket comedy Backyard Ashes.

9. Wagga Boat Club makes the most of its Lake Albert location with new deck
by Chris Roe

Wagga Wagga Boat Club

Wagga Wagga Boat Club’s new deck gets diners right down to the water. Photo: Chris Roe.

It’s been six years in the making but the Wagga Wagga Boat Club has now unveiled the region’s newest waterfront venue with the completion of a deck over Lake Albert.

“It was brought up by one of the directors back in 2016 as a suggestion but financially the club couldn’t afford it so it went on the back burner,” commodore Mick Henderson explained.

8. Big Springs Water the big winner at the Golden Crow Awards
by Chris Roe

Winners accepting award

Big Springs Natural Spring Water took out three awards, including the Golden Crow. Photo: Supplied.

Big Springs Water took out the Golden Crow at the Wagga Business Chamber’s annual awards in 2022.

7. ‘The reality of it is, we were directly responsible’: How a tragic accident changed the way Wagga Motors does business
by Chris Roe

Man and truck

Scott Braid from Wagga Motors has transformed his business to put safety at the fore. Photo: Chris Roe.

A work-related death led to a cultural transformation at Wagga Motors and has made the business a fierce safety advocate.

6. Griffith’s first secondhand bookshop opens after seven-year fight
by Oliver Jacques

Melissa Capararo holds up book while holding daughter

Melissa Capararo and her camera-shy daughter Maddie take a break in Ms Capararo’s ‘first serious business’. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Wagga-born Melissa Capararo opened Griffith’s first secondhand bookshop in November, following a seven-year journey to get a physical store off the ground.

“It all started when we took a table at the Yanco community markets and six baskets of books in early 2015. Since then, I have wanted my own store … I like reading and I want reading to be affordable for everyone,” she said.

5. Community champions shine at 2022 NSW Riverina Murray Business Awards
by Oliver Jacques

Boys to the bush with award

Port of Melbourne’s David Bardos (middle) with Outstanding Community Organisation award winners Boys to the Bush’s Tim Sanson (left) and Dean Whymark (right). Photo: Oliver Jacques.

A spectacular 2022 NSW Riverina Murray Business Award ceremony took place at the Whitton Malt House on Thursday 4 November, with social and community focused enterprises stealing the show, taking out a swag of prizes.

The border city of Albury dominated the evening, securing six of the thirteen major awards. Wagga and Deniliquin enterprises picked up two awards each, while Corowa, Cootamundra and Griffith each secured one prize.

4. Riley and Grace are breathing new life into the art of leathercraft
by Anna Maskus

Riley leading Harry the stockhorse wearing his RG Leather bridle, and Grace with Peppa the kelpie, sporting her custom dog collar. Photo: RG Leather.

Riley leading Harry the stockhorse, wearing his RG Leather bridle, and Grace with Peppa the kelpie, sporting her custom dog collar. Photo: RG Leather.

Meet the makers behind RG Leather, a pair of twenty-somethings who have brought a thousand-year-old skill into the 21st century.

The duo create handmade leather products, taking the entire process into their own hands – from hunting to stitching.

3. Griffith trio flushed with success of ‘girlie’ five-star portable toilet business
by Oliver Jacques

Three owners outside portable toilet

Maddy Collier, Kez Campbell and Mel Collier have revolutionised the portable toilet business. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Stepping inside a portable loo can be one of life’s least-appealing experiences. That’s why a Riverina trio seized on a unique business opportunity – creating a feminised mobile bathroom enterprise offering a luxurious toilet experience.

Meet the team behind Riverina Mobile Bathrooms.

2. Take a fresh look at Wagga RSL Club’s planned renovations
by Dione David

Digital rendering of Wagga RSL's new outdoor deck

With plenty of greenery and white timber framing, the open design of the al fresco extension to Wagga RSL will be “light and airy” and allow for plenty of sunlight. Images: PODGroup.

Wagga RSL Club will have a new outdoor deck, new and larger outdoor gaming, an alfresco restaurant extension and a two-storey “kids club” following upcoming renovations.

CEO Andrew Bell said the “exciting” additions were only fitting, given how the club roared back into trade following COVID-19-induced lockdowns.

1. Wagga’s reigning Social Queens take clothing hire business to the next level
by Anna Maskus

Lily Jenkins and Jess Knox of Wagga's Social Queen Markets standing in front of the old hospital op shop building in Fitzmaurice Street

Lily Jenkins (left) and Jess Knox (right) in front of the old Auxiliary Hospital Op Shop building on Fitzmaurice Street, which will play host to their latest business endeavour, Social Queen Markets. Photo: Anna Maskus.

Jess Knox and Lily Jenkins found something better than a gap in the Wagga market – they realised the market didn’t exist.

Their rental clothing side hustle Social Queen Hiring began as an Instagram account in June 2021, but has now grown into a full blown business on a scale the girls did not anticipate.

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