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Fresh look for Major Mitchell Store in Coolabah

Marissa McAlpine with some of the local Coolabah produce. Photo TWH

to and from Bourke, Brewarrina, or Cobar, you would have almost certainly stopped at the Coolabah store and fuel station.

Now, there is even more of an incentive to pull in off the road and enjoy a break from the long trip ahead.

Previously known as Gaffey’s General Store and run by Bill and Joan Gaffey, the store and fuel stop has now been restored by new owners, Marissa MacAlpine and her parents Stuart and Trish MacAlpine – all of “Bogan Downs” – a nearby grazing property.

Marissa, Stuart and Trish have renamed the business the ‘Major Mitchell’ General Store, and have been steadily transforming it into a classic country local store, with the essentials of fuel and refreshments, but adding a homemade touch to the products on the shelves.

Marissa said the family has also been patiently working on improving and updating the appearance of the store to make it more inviting to travellers and locals.

“It’s been a case of slow and steady wins the race,” Marissa said.

“We’ve been working away, installing new signs for the fuel bowsers and we have had a new concrete slab laid to cover the old steps and extend the deck out from the front façade.

“It’s been spruced up and it now looks far more appealing, it’s a nice spot to sit on the deck and have a coffee or tea and enjoy a relaxing break.

“The interior is a getting a long overdue paint job and we’re all very excited about that. Our very genial painter, Mick Gallos, has transformed the interior over the past two weeks. We’ve chosen a classic dark green, white, and black colour scheme which I think, looks really good.

“They’re not massive changes but we are just working away and getting there slowly. It’s difficult getting tradies to come out but we have had a great team from Dubbo to do most of the work and the fuel was installed by a very professional team from Bathurst.

“You just have to be patient and flexible because everyone is under the pump, so we have had to work in with other peoples’ schedules, and that’s been our biggest hurdle, but we are very happy with the progress so far,” she said.

As well as the facelift for the Major Mitchell General Store, the Coolabah community has also been enjoying a return to regular swap meets and market stalls and Marissa said there was an upbeat mood, helped by the rain, green paddocks, and plenty of travellers.

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