How long have you had the store? The store was built in 1891 by John Odgers and William McClelland, after Nundle formed on the back of a gold rush started in 1851. As the owners became more prosperous they updated their storefronts twice, moving further north along Jenkins Street. The original Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores building was then used as a warehouse. Part of the building is lined with flat tin as a mouse and rat deterrent to protect grain stores. The business was in McClelland descendants’ hands until 1976, then it was pretty much empty for more than 20 years. Duncan and I re-established the business and restored the building from 1998 when we moved to Nundle and wanted to create a business for ourselves. Firstly we ran an art gallery, but it soon became clear that people were more interested in the building than art. So we looked to the roots of the building, including original handwritten ledgers, and typed invoices on fancy vintage letterhead, to take it back to what it was – a general merchants full of practical and handsome goods for living. The online store started trading in 2011. I love that our shop is different things to different people. I’ve heard it called a tea shop, bucket shop, soap shop, broom shop, kitchen shop and hardware shop. We think of it as a housewares store, specialising in kitchen and garden wares.
When are you open? Odgers and McClelland Exchange Stores' physical store, at Nundle near Tamworth north-west NSW, is open most Tuesdays, and Wednesday to Sunday 10am-4pm. During school holidays and public holidays the physical store is open seven days. The online store is open 24/7. Outside of our shop opening hours we are often working behind the scenes and can be contacted by email or telephone (02) 6769 3233. We are closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Where is Falcon enamelware made? In the 1920’s J.Kleiner & Sons established the name and manufactured Falcon Enamelware in England. As the production cost increased, J.Kleiner & Sons moved their production to Hong Kong in 1972. In 1991 J.Kleiner & Sons sold all their shares to their Hong Kong partner including the Falcon brand. In 2012 Falcon Enamelware, a sister company of the existing manufacturer was formed. Co-founder Hugh Morse of Morse Studio worked with designers Kiwi&Pom to create premium packaging and exclusive products and colours. Both Falcon product ranges come out of the same factory in China.
The Falcon enamelware that we sell is a direct evolution of the original manufacturer’s product. The stamped Falcon enamelware marketed from the UK is a redesign and rebrand aimed at repackaging the existing product for a new generation of design-conscious customers. When contacted in July 2017 the UK-based stamped Falcon enamelware distributors emailed that they no longer have stockists in Australia, directing customers to their website.
When are online orders processed? Online orders are processed daily, in order of time and date received. We understand that you want your parcel as quickly as possible. Mail leaves Monday to Friday at 12.50pm using Australia Post e-parcel.
How long is delivery? Delivery to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne is usually three working days. Delivery to Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia can be five to ten working days. Australia Post provides tracking details.
Can you explain the name? The name is derived from the original owners of the business, John Odgers and William McClelland and the 19th century barter/exchange of gold and farm produce for goods. We have boxes of books recording the transactions of customers, their credits and debits, weekly grocery items, car registration and farm produce.
Who designed the shop? The shop is largely original and we simply cleaned it up. Duncan painted the ceiling and restored the gas light fittings, shelving made from timber packing cases, and 6” floorboards. Most importantly, he leveled and stabilized the building, replacing rotting timber pole foundations. Over the years we have added antique furniture fittings as additional shelving and custom made recycled timber and glass cabinets to display Opinel pocket knives, shaving brushes and razors, and tin toys.
Where are your product sourced? We have built up our suppliers over 17 years, always starting with the history of the shop, what was stocked here in the past, and what is available now. Many of the brands we stock are a similar age to the building. We are also attracted to natural materials; stainless steel, galvanized steel, timber, brushes made from horse, goat and badger hair, coconut, tampico, rice root and sisal fibres, kitchenware made from wire, cast iron, enamelware, glass, and ceramic, and aprons and tea towels woven from linen and cotton.
What makes your shop unique? From feedback from our customers I can confidently say our building is unique. Such a rough-built timber and corrugated iron building would not have survived in many other towns. The fact that Nundle is so small and underdeveloped meant our rustic building is still standing in the main street. When we opened there weren’t a lot of stores with the combination of goods that we sell. In this post GFC, post September 11 world we’ve started to see more stores stocking the DIY goods made from natural materials that we’ve sold for nearly two decades. In some ways we were ahead of the zeitgeist, swapping city life 17 years ago to live in a country community, growing and cooking a lot of our own food. Now a lot of people living in cities bring the country to them, growing veges in their backyard or community gardens, introducing rooftop beehives and preserving seasonal produce.
Who/what inspired you to become a shopkeeper? Duncan became a shopkeeper largely out of necessity. Nundle is a small town and if you can create your own income, it makes it possible to stay if you aren’t a shearer, farmer, teacher or timber worker. Duncan cut his teeth working in retail in hardware and grocery stores in our hometown of Camden, on the rural outskirts of Sydney. He then worked for fashion retailer Country Road in Sydney (and drove taxis) while he was studying at university. He has fond memories of travelling through the States and Canada in his early twenties and seeing country stores in rural America.
My background is in journalism, writing for lifestyle magazines including Australian Country Style, Australian House and Garden, Gardening Australia, Organic Gardener and The Sydney Morning Herald. I became a shopkeeper after our boys were born. Helping Duncan in the business, particularly establishing the online store and social media presence, became a way to work closer to home and our family.
Our parents have been great mentors. Both sets of parents have a great love of timber, handmade goods, antiques, and cooking. Duncan’s parents were art collectors and travelers, exposing him and his brother to food, fine art and design around the world. My parents have always been very DIY, sewing, cabinet making, and growing their own food. Our kitchen was always bursting with preserves in glass jars, homegrown vegetables, eggs, and honey.
Who are your customers? Since we started trading online our customers are from all over Australia. Our over the counter customers tend to be country people living within a three hour travelling radius of Nundle, while our online customers are from Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
What are you best known for? We started selling enamelware around 2002, based on the heritage of the store. We now have one of the broadest ranges of enamelware available in Australia.