WORDS BY LARINE STATHAM-BLAIR
Bamboo wind chimes and bells twinkle in the distance. There’s a subtle aroma of incense. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but this place has something magic about it. Reminiscent of your travels abroad; it’s much more than an alternative homewares store. It ignites your senses and transports you to another place.
For 30 years, Nature’s Emporium on Bourbong Street has been bringing the world to Bundaberg. It’s a tranquil place of knowledge and healing, where you can learn about other cultures and ancient traditions.
Owners Chris and Tina Dimes radiate pride and positivity as they greet customers with beaming smiles. To them, Nature’s Emporium is a central part of their family. It’s how they met.
Chris’s parents, Bill and Karen, founded Nature’s Emporium in August 1992, in the same site it occupies today. “They came down from Agnes Water because they wanted to open a store that aligned with their values and holistic way of life,” Chris said. “It was a daunting prospect back then, because this was not mainstream, so my parents really had to back themselves.”
Chris said Nature’s Emporium started with a small offering of products at the front of the shop, but expanded over the years and today it occupies the whole 590 square meter space. “We are so grateful for the support we have received over the years from three generations of shoppers; it has been amazing,” Chris said. “We have customers, from near and far, who have been shopping with us for 30 years. Sometimes we overhear their conversations, telling their kids about what it looked when they were kids. We love to see and hear those memories still being shared.”
Nature’s Emporium has always been in their family. Tina’s parents, Allan and Anna, owned it for eight years before Chris and Tina took over in 2010.
Chris and Tina are matter of fact when it comes to explaining the successful longevity of their business. “Change is the only constant,” Tina said. “Times change, people change and over the years we have adapted and evolved our vision to keep Nature’s growing. It’s not just one person making this happen. It’s a team effort of great staff and continued customer support. Our staff become family and our customers become friends. Together, as a collective, we share the success. It isn’t just a store with things and stuff. It’s an experience; a place where people come to enjoy themselves in peace. You can see within steps of entering our doors, people begin to relax and unwind.”
Chris said being in business with his beautiful wife meant he had a reliable, honest sounding board. “Over the years, we’ve each had a little sabbatical away from the business to pursue other careers, in child care and farming, but we circle back around,” he said. “There’s nowhere we’d rather be and nothing we’d rather be doing.”
Soulful, uncluttered, and unpretentious, the range curated by Chris and Tina would impress even the most worldly of global citizens. Quality, tasteful products are sourced from many countries. Tina said much of their range included locally made products. “Operating a family business inspires us to source products from family businesses, wherever possible,” she said.
Natures Emporium stock everything from home decor and soft furnishings, timber slabs, pots and planters, sterling silver jewellery, musical instruments and natural beauty products. They have an impressive range of healing crystals, oracle cards, essential oils, music, yoga mats and books to soothe the soul.