Behind each of your favourite stores are passionate, hardworking people who welcome you to take part in their story, every time you walk in. Here, we introduce you to the faces behind some of your favourite Stockland retailers. Learn about the history of their business, the products and services they offer and what they love about their local community.
Meet Josh, Harry Hartog Bookseller
1. Tell us about your store.
Harry Hartog Bookseller is a magical place to explore other worlds, to find out more about this one. We're a bookshop, but we are much more than that. I've been working - is it working if you love it so much? - at Harry Hartog since 2015 and I still remember the first time I walked in and thought, this is special. There is an atmosphere in our stores that is at once relaxing and exciting. It is easy to get lost browsing, and we always strive to make our customers feel at home and help them find the right book or gift.
2. What products, services or experiences do you offer?
Books are in abundance - 20,000 plus on a good day - and we also have a wide range of unique gift and lifestyle products for everyone. Every time we get a new delivery, our team always ask ourselves if we need another quirky travel mug, luxe leather bag or jigsaw in our collection. We always have something on hand that will spark your interest or make life easier or more stimulating.
With the current state of things, we are aware that people's mobility and health are at the forefront, and we are doing all we can to help ease this burden for our community. We can create curated reading lists that are tailored to suit you or a loved one. We offer a local delivery service for the immediate community and postage for those further removed. And our wonderful author events are always a hit, whether online or in store when social distancing conditions allow again.
3. What drives you and the team to success?
At the front of our minds is our customers. Each and every one of our team loves books and reading. I can tell you without exaggeration, there is no better feeling than recommending a book to someone and having them come back and tell us how much they enjoyed it. Reading is one of those past times that can change people; can expand their minds, make them think about things differently, inspire in them creativity, compassion and wisdom. It helps alleviate stress and gives people hope. This is what drives us as a team. Because each of us has had that experience with books, has felt and witnessed their importance time and again. And we love sharing that with our customers.
4. What do you love about our local community?
Maitland and the Hunter is a fabulous community, who come from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Above all, we respect and support each other. One of my favourite things is having a laugh with a customer, listening to their stories and chatting with their family. We may be spread out but when we all come together, whether at events in the centre or in the wider community, there are always smiles to be found. What it all boils down to: we are a community that cares.
5. What did you wish customers knew before they visited your store?
Books are for everyone! Sometimes people are intimidated by books; for example, they may think that because they are 40 years old, they shouldn't be reading Young Adult. These are some of the most interesting stories around! Reading is for all ages, genders and backgrounds. I promise you, you can always come in store and ask for recommendations and we will have something that works for you. Read what you love.
6. What are some must-have items right now?
The world can feel a little bleak at the moment and we want to remind people that there is always hope and fun to be had.
Julia Baird's wonderful Phosphorescence is a must-have right now - it is so timely. It touches on all the beautiful things in life that help sustain us during dark times.
We also have the perfect portable support for your book, the Bookseat, that will free up your hands while you read to make juggling the coffee and biscuits that much easier.
If Game Night is creeping up, have you tried Cards Against Humanity? Or one of its expansion packs? While definitely 17+, this card game will have you in stitches in person or on Zoom!
For the younger crowd, what about Bananagrams? This game is a little like Scrabble and not only is it tons of fun, but also helps kids with spelling. Maybe you could use that for a homeschool English lesson? You can definitely use Magda Szubanski's new book for junior readers, Timmy the Ticked-Off Pony.