It is always a brave decision to open a small business. It is very brave, extraordinary even, to open one in the middle of a pandemic.
Dirty Jane's, purveyor of all things vintage, unique and handcrafted, opened its doors in Fyshwick at 10am on Wednesday in what might be the ultimate against-the-tide move in this time of coronavirus-led lockdowns.
The opening came after a year of hard work by the owner, Jane Crowley, her husband Bob, father Athol Salter, and her staff.
The huge warehouse, behind Domanye in Collie Street, is home to more than 90 small traders, each operating as autonomous businesses selling items that may not ever be regarded as essential. There's not a can of beans or packet of toilet paper to be seen. (But there is one roll attached to a funky, green 1970s combined toilet roll dispenser and transmitter radio. Of course there is)
But the traders hope that their items are essential for lifting the soul, sparking joy, escaping from the everyday, or, at least, this new normal.
There are fresh flowers, vintage clothing, ceramics, jewellery, antiques, soft furnishings, books, retro toys, linens, paintings, retro signs, lamps, records and more. A chair upholstered with the image of Gough Whitlam here; a bunch of feathers there.
A trickle of customers came through the doors after they opened. Many were traders buying from each other. Social distancing wasn't a problem.
The traders can only hope and cling on to the prospect of better times.
Jessica Hewson was casting a final eye over her store, The Verandah, which sells linen dresses and skincare, and her mother's stall around the corner, Alchemy Books.
Mrs Hewson said she just felt "sad".
"Jane's extraordinary," she said.
"She's given Canberra something magnificent in this. The Bowral store is such a destination and such an iconic place for Bowral."
She believes the Canberra sister store will be the same.
Claudia Tetreault was doing some last-minute steaming of vintage clothes in her stall Zazu Exchange, which allows locals to exchange or sell clothes on consignment.
She could only be sanguine about whatever was to come.
"We have to roll with it," she said.
Lisa Cullis, from Gunning, was close to tears as she stood at her stall, Whimsical Wares, with husband Michael and business partner Belinda Essam. The business recycles and reuses all measure of things to make beautiful products, down to a reusable veggie bag, while also selling vintage items.
Mrs Cullis was feeling "anxious".
"It would have been a great day ordinarily," she said.
The feeling was, from the traders, that once everything gets back to normal, Dirty Jane's will boom, will be another destination for tourists and visitors alike.
Zoe Waters sells soft furnishings and skin care from her store Leodis Home. She also sells from The Cheese Factory at Robertson and the Kiama Collective.
Mrs Waters, like most traders, won't have to be on site at Dirty Jane's. All purchases go through the one sales point and the money is distributed to the traders.
"It's a great business formula," she said, adding Mrs Crowley was " a brilliant operator".
But Mrs Waters said she also had to crunch the numbers and see how she could maintain three sites, to at least make the rent. She was not optimistic.
"It's not going to happen," she said.