New look store a real head-turner

Matthew and Denise Howard are thrilled with their newly-renovated store.
Matthew and Denise Howard are thrilled with their newly-renovated store. Lauren Grounsell

INTERACTIVE television screens, shelves of beautiful cards and a bridal window display meant the newly-renovated Maleny Newsagency is sure to impress.

Proud owners Denise and Matthew Howard are the first newsagency in Queensland to be chosen by Hallmark for a major renovation, and they could not be happier.

"It has been an emotional journey but it is so exciting," Mrs Howard said.

"It has been great and it will be rewarding. I have seen so many positive things come out of it.

"One lady sent us a message on Facebook saying 'thank you for investing in our town' and that was really positive."

Mrs Howard's parents bought the store in July 1978 and when her mother passed away from cancer in 1986 she moved from Adelaide to Maleny to be with her dad.

"I'm an only child so I thought the responsibility was to be here," Mrs Howard said.

When her father was ready to sell up shop, Mr and Mrs Howard took it over.

Mr Howard left his job in the fire service and the family packed up their three-bedroom house to move into the shop's adjoining flat with their two young children Laura and Blair.

"We moved in here when we were six months off owning our own home, we bought this and moved from a three-bedroom house to a two-bedroom flat with kids that were two and three at the time," Mrs Howard said.

"We have lived and worked here ever since."

Hallmark Australasia's marketing and sales director David Haskard said the store had introduced a range of new kids encouragement products to the shelves.

"As the category leader, we're more than just cards - we're about delivering an enjoyable and pleasurable shopping experience for our customers," Mr Haskard said.

Mrs Howard said the newsagency was still a family business and with a dedicated team of staff they were excited for the future.

"The last couple of years have been very hard financially and we hope to work our way through it," she said.

"I would like to see more people shopping local and to generate money back into the town."

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