The Canberra Times

Shop LocalAdvertising Feature

Such a simple way to meet a vital need in the communityAdvertising Feature

NOT FOR PROFIT: Op-shopping provides an ethical retail alternative and allows people to give back to their community. Photo: Shutterstock

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT has been supporting communities in Canberra and surrounding regions for decades.

The region's first Anglicare Op-Shop opened in May 2001 in Queanbeyan.

Anglicare Retail employs a team of six paid staff who work with more than 40 volunteers collecting, sorting, labelling and selling a wide range of recycled clothing.

The Queanbeyan store also offers Food Fair which is a low cost food purchase option.

Spokeswoman Amy Lanham said Anglicare operates three retail recycling stores in the Canberra/Queanbeyan region that sell quality recycled clothing and household items at affordable prices.

"Profits generated at our retail recycling stores are used to support the work of Anglicare and people in our local community, specifically our emergency relief, and youth and family services programs," she said.

"We believe that op-shopping provides an ethical shopping alternative, reduces landfill and allows people to give back to their community in a variety of ways.

"This can be either by donating their clothing, shopping at our stores or assisting as volunteers.

"These stores also provide an alternative shopping experience for people who need low cost options.

"For these reasons, we think that stores like Anglicare Retail will continue to meet a vital need in the community."

Ms Lanham said Anglicare is always looking for people to join their team of retail volunteers.

"It's a chance to be part of a friendly team that gives back to the wider community," she said.

"Plus it's a whole lot of fun!"

You can check out the website for details on your local store or nearest clothing collection bin or to find out more about becoming a volunteer.

If you are interested in making a donation Anglicare is currently in need of items for winter such as jackets, coats and blankets.

You will find Anglicare Retail at Level 5, 221 London Circuit, Canberra. For details phone 6245 7100 or visit the website at www.anglicare.com.au. You can also find them on Facebook.

Explore the outdoors with bookshopAdvertising Feature

The Botanical Bookshop is located within the visitor centre in the picturesque Australian National Botanic Gardens in Acton. Photo: Supplied

Our range of local maps and field guides are a fantastic resource for anyone looking to explore and learn more about the local Canberra region and the plants, animals and fungi you will find.

- Dan Butt, The Botanical Bookshop

Exploring the great outdoors around Canberra is a favourite pastime of many looking to enjoy all the benefits of fresh air and movement.

With the help of a place like The Botanical Bookshop, intrepid wanderers can also further appreciate flora and fauna of their surroundings. The bookshop has been operating within the visitor centre in the picturesque Australian National Botanic Gardens in Acton, at the foot of Black Mountain, for almost 20 years.

Within its walls, readers will discover Canberra's best range of books on Australia flora and fauna, gardening for local conditions, environmental sustainability, regenerative farming and land management, Indigenous history and much more.

"Our store provides a huge range of field guides for use when exploring the local Canberra region and many other areas around Australia," said owner Dan Butt. "Our range of local maps and field guides are a fantastic resource for anyone looking to explore and learn more about the local Canberra region and the plants, animals and fungi you will find throughout the area."

For the green thumbs out there, the bookstore has an extensive list of titles related to gardening in the local Canberra conditions. "These cover information on plant selection, the timing of plantings and much more to help locals improve their gardening success," Dan said.

The bookshop also provides a fantastic range of Australian-themed children's books and beautiful gifts and souvenirs for visitors and locals.

Dan encouraged people to take advantage of the incredible natural resource right on Canberra's doorstep - the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

"As part of the Gardens, we are focused on bringing locals and visitors the best range of books and gifts that represent the Gardens and people's experience when they visit," he said.

"We are currently focused on increasing our range of local books and gifts that best represent Canberra's local environment and its proud tradition as the Bush Capital."

Dan invited visitors and locals alike to come in and speak with the friendly staff at the bookshop, who can help you find the best resources to suit your interests and open your eyes to some exciting new areas to explore.

Fun and fabulous furnishings that will enhance any roomAdvertising Feature

Pink Flamingo interiors specialises in one-off and custom-made furnishings that will change the way you look at your home. Photo: Supplied

We all have that one piece of furniture that we are stuck with. Perhaps it's an heirloom, has sentimental value or we just keep promising ourselves we are going to throw it out or get someone to give it a new lease of life.

It's so much easier to make these decisions when you know you have experts such as Christine Pearce of Pink Flamingo Interiors on hand to help you make all your decorating decisions.

Known for her quirky designs and stunning fabrics, Christine Pearce is the owner and the creative passion behind Pink Flamingo interiors, a Canberra-based interior styling and home furnishings business.

Specialising in one-off and custom made furnishings, Pink Flamingo interiors has a range of statement pieces to choose from, or will work with you to design exactly what you want, whether it's a new or vintage piece you are after.

Christine sources fabulous fabrics both locally and internationally for her furniture and stocks a range of complementary furnishings including cushions and lampshades.

And you will not find any mass produced items here. Everything is unique and many items are designed and created locally, using Canberra-based designers, artists, and highly skilled tradespeople.

Pink Flamingo interiors are also experts in restoration and re-upholstery and can give your old favourites a new lease of life. Christine works with some of Canberra's best upholsterers and furniture restorers so you know you will get a quality job and a future heirloom piece.

If you have a special piece that needs some work or you just want to update your look, then Pink Flamingo are the experts you should turn to, creating an amazing piece out of something that was tired and dated.

Of course, ChooseCBR vouchers are welcome and can be used with any purchase in store.

Christine ensures you will get a quality job that will last for generations to come.

And to finish off any room you can choose from their range of complimentary furnishings like cushions and lampshades.

Use your voucher when you visit Pink Flamingo - you are sure to find something that will give you pleasure and treasure for years.

The flagship store is a treasure trove of colour and design with a great range of Christine's own creations as well as home decor, artwork, fashion and jewellery.

Local Canberra and Australian artists and designers are featured in the shop, including works from Canberra artist Yvette Fitzpatrick and stunning fabrics from Canberra based textile designer Tamara Design Co.

Visit the store today, or you can contact Christine on 0435 860 399, or you can send an email to christine@pinkflamingointeriors.com.au to discuss your needs.

Find fresh fruit and vegetables just ripe for the pickingAdvertising Feature

GET YOUR FIVE A DAY: Only the best produce hits shelves at The Food Forum. Photo: Shutterstock.

Fruit and vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet, and the fresher they are the better.

The good news is, that you don't have to travel far to find an abundance of the best fresh produce at The Food Forum.

It's no secret that Australian produce is some of the best in the world, and the team at The Food Forum is up at 3am every morning making sure that only the best produce possible makes it from the fields onto their shelves.

Whilst most retailers in this day and age-grade food based on appearance, their philosophy is based on taste... if it tastes good, they want it.

The Iannelli family has been providing Canberra with the freshest fruit, veggies, meat, and chicken for almost a century, and they have it down to a fine art.

"We have over 50 people working here," says Anthony Iannelli. "They range from fruiterers, butchers, checkout staff, order packers, wholesale staff and delivery drivers."

"We'll just keep doing what we've always done.. try and provide the best produce at the best price, its timeless," says Anthony.

He says it's always best to support the local guys.

"There is a lot of smoke and mirrors that come with the national chain stores so things aren't always what they seem," says Anthony.

"Canberra has a lot of great independent fruit shops, butchers, deli's etc where you'll get a lot fresher and better quality produce for the same coin. And not to mention you'll be supporting local business and the local economy."

You can shop online or in the store every day.

The store is a feast for the senses. Full of vibrant colors, weekly specials, local produce, and inspiration for dinners.

There is a full in-house butcher shop preparing meat, fresh in-store. The buying team is on the phone with local producers every day of the week sourcing the best lamb, beef, and pork our region has to offer.

You can also find a large selection of health foods and wholefoods.

You can find The Food Forum at Westfield Belconnen or online at www.thefoodforum.com.au

Discover art at Canberra GlassworksAdvertising Feature

Glass artist Annette Blair's solo exhibition, Quietly Spoken is now showing at Canberra Glassworks until 14 August. Photo: Supplied

ART can bring a room together and, with the right piece, can set the mood for an entire space.

It might be tempting to opt for cheaper, mass-produced works that fit with the design style you choose for your home but, like a quality piece of furniture, investing in handmade, bespoke artwork pays off in the long run.

Canberra Glassworks is a glassmaking facility for contemporary artists where visitors can watch the artists in action and also buy an original piece directly from the shop.

The facility is a unique Canberra experience and the gallery presents a variety of exhibitions that demonstrate the diverse practices of primarily Australian artists.

In the shop, there is an ever-changing collection of bespoke products available, some of which you can see being made upstairs in the glass-making facilities, but all of which are made with care by the hands of Australian glassmakers.

The Glassworks is a part of the developing Kingston Arts Precinct, with resident local artists actively creating new works all the time.

The kilns and other heating infrastructure of the studios, the exhibition space and the shop are housed within the heritage structure of the old powerhouse.

Resident artists are regularly commissioned to create a wide variety of works and have collaborated with other artists to bring their visions into a glass-based medium as well.

The shop displays a large selection of objects created by local and interstate artists for that special occasion or everyday use.

The Glassworks has long created a marketplace for artists to showcase their creations and connect the process of artistic development and the function of the completed product.

Visitors can expect to take home beautifully designed and crafted functional glassware and aesthetic artworks that support many of Australia's leading and emerging glass artists.

Among the artists featured at the Glassworks is Annette Blair who has worked with glass for more than 20 years.

Her solo exhibition, Quietly Spoken, is showing at the Glassworks until August 14.

"Studying at the ANU glass workshop and Jam Factory in Adelaide, I have dedicated my practice to refining technical processes to make thoughtfully designed and beautifully crafted objects," Annette said.

"Working out of the Canberra Glassworks, as well as my home studio in Burra, NSW, I create timeless products for everyday use as well as one-off pieces for exhibition.

"I also work with many high-profile designers and artists, such as Patricia Piccinini, to realise their ideas in blown glass."

Art collector or not, all the pieces in Quietly Spoken are available to purchase.

"Shopping locally, from places like the Canberra Glassworks is a win-win," she said.

"Where your purchase supports local makers and enables facilities like this one to continue engaging with the community about the magic of glass."

Winter white-out is this artist's wonderAdvertising Feature

COMMITMENT: Scott Leggo camps out in the snow to capture that perfect shot, reflecting the true heart and soul of a location. Scott has won Landscape Photographer of the Year. Photo: Supplied

RECOGNISED as one of Australia's leading wilderness and landscape photographers, Scott Leggo is the recipient of more than 100 international and Australian awards.

These include Landscape Photographer of the Year and Professional Photographer of the Year in the ACT.

Scott is a passionate outdoorsman, driven by a love of travel and the adventure of exploring to photograph scenes in stunning light and sharing the beauty of nature with others.

He has in turn built a stand-out Australian photography business through his Canberra gallery and online store.

Driven by a love of travel and a desire to never stop exploring, Scott's photographs depict outdoor locations in stunning light, conveying strong emotional connections to his worldwide audiences.

He travels extensively, seeking to immerse himself in the environment he photographs, regularly enduring mother nature's worst weather to capture the true heart and soul of a location.

Often camped out for multiple nights in the backcountry in the depths of winter snow, Scott is known for his commitment, patience and single-minded pursuit of images that convey the magic and energy of the outdoor locations he photographs.

The end result is expressive photographs that capture the beauty of the Australian landscape like few others.

"I love snow camping in the back country during mid winter," Scott says.

"It allows me to experience more remote areas in a mix of weather conditions and then photograph them in widely varied light.

"As many of you who follow my landscape photography know, I'm often up very early, walking or travelling out to a location in the pitch dark, with little guiding my way other than my dependable Black Diamond head torch and the feel of early morning spider webs brushing past.

"Equally I'm often out late, staying well after the sun has set to capture my photographs.

"Naturally I get asked why I go to these extremes when it would be a lot easier to simply take photos during the middle of the day."

In short, it's all about capturing the best light. Around the times of sunrise and sunset as the sun is low and the light is soft, many outdoor scenes simply look more impressive versus the harsh midday sun.

"Equally, in many of the less travelled and more 'wilderness' locations it's these times of day when the wildlife are more active and the area generally more peaceful and tranquil," Scott says,

Tourist areas are relatively quiet, "so no one is around to get in the shot, either".

Scott has been supplying his artworks to homes and offices, across Australia and overseas for nearly 20 years.

All artworks are made in Australia and certified with the Australian Made Campaign.

If an item is not in-stock, it will be made to order for you. Free delivery to Australian locations.

Visit Scott's website, scottleggo.com.

Focusing on the quality and integrityAdvertising Feature

After fifty years of manufacturing in Canberra, "we're just getting started". Photo: Supplied

Chances are you have seen a Watson-emblazoned vehicle weaving through the streets on any given day if you are a Canberra resident.

They have operated for over 50 years and the team believes they have become a well-entrenched community symbol.

The Watson story began in 1968, starting from humble beginnings in a little workroom in Lyle Street, Fyshwick with just one employee and $500 to spare.

Since then, the business has insisted on employing local staff and manufacturing locally.

They believe that focusing on quality and integrity is what has seen the company go from strength to strength, now employing over 150 local staff.

The patriarch of the family, John Watson, always used to say, "quality will be remembered long after price is forgotten".

So, while many retailers have ceased local production in favour of higher margins and profits through off-shore manufacturing, the Watson family insists on controlling the quality by keeping production local.

"In an industry where competitors have long since moved manufacturing away from the territory, the Watson family chose to remain in Canberra and invest in the local community. It really sets Watson apart," chief executive officer Joel Symmans said.

This commitment to the local community has further solidified with the recent completion of the new Watson factory.

Designed by DNA Architects Canberra and built by Nikias Diamond, the state-of-the-art factory in Hume is some 4000 square metres in size.

Built to meet the growing demands of the business, the factory has just opened its doors, promising to create new jobs and opportunities for local workers.

"Besides wanting to ensure quality and control over the standard of our products, I think there's a big emotional attachment more than anything. It's about maintaining that family aspect and connection to the community. We want to contribute to the growth of Canberra," Symmans said.

Today, daily operations are run by John and his wife Patricia's grandchildren, Amanda, Rohan and Tim Watson. With a hands-on approach to the company's everyday activities, they maintain an open and genuine relationship with their staff across the showrooms and factory floors.

Watson Blinds fit blinds, curtains, shutters, awnings and security screens for residential and commercial properties. As the only factory in the region still manufacturing window furnishings and awnings, the success of Watson Blinds can be attributed to its founders and the company culture they have fostered. With some of John's original fittings from 1968 still going strong, Symmans says this speaks volumes about the quality of the furnishings and why the company insists on producing locally.

'We want to continue to be part of the growth in this region through expanding our operations, employing more local staff and giving back to the community. Fifty years in Canberra, and we're just getting started."

Working hard to let nothing go to wasteAdvertising Feature

Thor's Hammer make lots of custom items from reclaimed timber. Photo: Supplied

Thor's Hammer has been operating in Canberra for 28 years. In the 1990s, founder and director Thor Diesendorf started sourcing timber from Canberra demolition sites to make custom furniture and kitchens.

"I couldn't stand by and see good timber wasted, so I began to save more and more timber from demolition sites until, eventually, Thor's Hammer was born in 1994," said Thor.

Soon after this, the team installed sawing and dressing machinery at their previous workshop in the Old Canberra Brickworks, increasing their product range to include architectural products like flooring, cladding and decking.

In 2019, after 25 years at the Brickworks, Thor's Hammer moved into the old Tip Top Bakery in Griffith, having undertaken a huge renovation project to get it ready.

Now a 35-strong crew of proud Canberra locals, the team includes highly-skilled timber recyclers, designers and makers, who are skilled in both contemporary and traditional techniques. "We combine modern machinery and traditional hand tool skills to make our products," said Thor.

We combine modern machinery and traditional hand tool skills to make our products

- Thor Diesendorf

"The recycling team is responsible for de-nailing and metal detecting timber, grading and sorting by species, and grinding and brushing big posts and beams," Thor explains.

"The dressing and picking teams pick out recycled timber orders, and load and unload the trucks which arrive with the salvaged timber, and are then responsible for the sawing and final drying of timbers, and then turning them into decking, flooring and other profiles. The joinery team is where we make bench tops, custom designed furniture, front doors and more. And finally, our design and sales, marketing and administration department is the customer-facing component of the business, ensuring that everything continues to tick along smoothly and the workshop teams can continue to work their magic."

Significantly, all of Thor's Hammer products are designed and made in their Canberra workshop, using high quality recycled timber. They make benchtops, tables and furniture, cladding, decking and flooring, doors, slabs, posts and beams, and also supply a variety of natural edge slabs, dressed timbers from the racks and benchtop offcuts to local makers and tradespeople.

All of Thor's Hammer's products are designed and built with careful consideration for their environmental impact.

"Taking care of the environment is at the core of what we do," says Thor.

"We build our products to last for generations, and we've also made it a priority to minimise waste and environmental harm in our production processes, by repurposing off-cuts, always using non-toxic materials and minimising our fossil fuel energy use."

With their 30-year anniversary looming, Thor's Hammer continues to make significant contributions to the Canberra community, providing reliable and rewarding jobs for Canberra-based cabinet-makers, environmentalists and timber enthusiasts, and continuing to adapt their products and services for the Canberra community.

"Much of our work is custom designed and made, which means we're able to stay on the pulse with consumer demand for timber products, and to adapt and evolve with our customers' needs.

"In response to demand, we have plans to expand our furniture range and our production of flooring and cladding from timber recycled from local Canberra demolitions. And, in the next few months we have an exciting new machine arriving; a 5-axis CNC [computer numerically controlled] from Italy which will transform our furniture-making and joinery, making our processes more efficient and helping to keep costs down for customers."

Souvenirs to tell those special storiesAdvertising Feature

Australian Choice has been operating in the Canberra Centre since 1989, selling quality Australian gifts and souvenirs. Photo: Supplied

We enjoy telling their stories to customers so they can appreciate the story behind the product and how it was created.

- Dan Butt, Australian Choice

Finding the perfect souvenir to bring home for loved ones after time spent abroad can be a rewarding but tough process.

You want to get something meaningful, a memento of where you have been or have come from, perhaps with a story or sentimental value, but without it being poor quality or cliche.

Australian Choice can help. The family-owned business has been operating in the Canberra Centre since 1989, selling quality Australian gifts and souvenirs.

The majority of these products are made in Australia and come from artists, designers and manufacturers all over the country.

Owner Dan Butt said most of their customers were in fact, locals looking to take quality gifts with them when they travel or to send overseas. "Our huge range of quality products allow customers to choose a gift that will best represent themselves and Australia when travelling," he said.

Over many years in business, Dan said, Australian Choice had developed strong relationships with the people who create the products they sell. "We enjoy telling their stories to customers so they can appreciate the story behind the product and how it was created," he said.

"Many of our products are created by Indigenous businesses and artists. They represent Indigenous people and cultures from around Australia.

"We ensure that all products follow the Indigenous Art Code that preserves and promotes ethical trading in Indigenous art and ensures royalties are paid directly to artists and their communities."

Like many businesses, the last few years have been tough, particularly given the effects on local and international travel.

Having weathered this storm successfully, Dan and his team are very optimistic about the future of the business as travel across the country and the globe resumes.

The team is constantly sourcing new product ranges to ensure something fresh is in store. "We are passionate about the products we sell and the story behind them," Dan said.

"When buying a gift, we think it is important that people are able to find out the story behind the item so they can pass that on.

"We also feel it is more important than ever to support businesses working in Australia to produce great Australian-made products, and so we will continue to bring as many of those products to our customers as we possibly can."