Store owner: Sue Castelow

Years as a newsagent:
Sue has been in this business for 18 months, having taken over from the previous owner who had run the business for over 20 years.

Address: 81 Belmore Street, Yarrawonga Victoria

Products sold:
In addition to the regular items sold in most newsagencies, Sue has focussed on introducing a range of giftware and premium stationary items, art supplies, children’s toys/books and broadened the greeting card ranges on offer.  Sue also offers a photo printing service and an extensive book range and is in the process of establishing a small bookstore within the shop premises.

Business Success:
Sue took ownership of the Yarrawonga Newsagency at the beginning of August 2021, just as Victoria entered its 6th COVID-19 lockdown.


Lockdowns presented a huge challenge for this tourist town and Sue’s business – tourism came to a halt and foot traffic was slow.

With fresh eyes, Sue set to refurbish the entire store as it was not in great condition.  The shop required significant cleaning, painting, new carpet, shelving and new stock for the locals and tourists alike. A new name with associated rebranding followed – new uniforms were introduced to accompany the new look – Yarrawonga News & Gifts – this was a strategic change to ensure it was clear the business was not just seen as a traditional newsagent.

Yarrawonga News & Gifts now offers all the regular items sold in a newsagency plus so much more. The Lott is part of the business as well as gifting, beautiful cards, books, art supplies and stationary – the rebranding has drawn attention to all these items and locals have been very happy with the offering and provided positive feedback.

Sue also offers photocopying, scanning, laminating and an email service for those needing assistance – useful for older customers and those on holiday. Other great initiatives offered include a photo printing booth and stationery fulfilment for schools and the business community (including printer/toner cartridges) – Yarrawonga News & Gifts will price match with Officeworks and deliver within the local community. These initiatives will encourage people to shop locally.

The floods at Christmas 2022 have also had a significant impact. Just as they were gearing up for a busy Christmas the floods hit and there was no camping on the rivers.  Another big hit for the locals but Sue and her team have remained optimistic and focused on delivering new initiatives and providing the best service possible to drive foot traffic.

Tourists are now back, and fingers are crossed for a strong Easter period to support the town of Yarrawonga.

Local Community Contributions:
Sue has a strong focus on supporting the local community and those in need. Initiatives such as taking donations for gift wrapping – this money is given to Friends in Common, a local cancer support group. Support of schools, sporting clubs, local art groups, the CWA and other community initiatives are important – giving back to the community is an important part of being in business.

Sue feels encouraged and positive about the future and has set clear direction for her business and her team.  Here are some of the things which have helped the business change direction:

  • Have a clean and bright store with an inviting store front
  • Create a positive culture with motivated staff who enjoy their job and give them roles and responsibilities where appropriate
  • Diversify – look at a range of products and services that will compliment your existing range
  • Entice customers to spend more time in your store (e.g.: toy basket for kids/ambient music/stock that invites browsing
  • Invest time in social media