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The Little Shop that Swallowed an Entire Town

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I’m standing at the front counter chatting with Trevor – owner of New Age Markets – when I see a customer casually walk into the store with her white poodle in tow.

He notices my look of surprise and smiles. “We allow dogs in here. Pets are part of the family, they are welcome in here the same way anyone else is”. A member of Animals Australia and supporter of the Golden Retriever Fund, store owner Trevor Prendergast is a passionate advocate for animal rights, insisting that customers are more than welcome to bring their pets with them into the shop. It’s incredibly unusual for a store owner to be so welcoming to friends of the four-legged variety, but then, New Age Markets is not your usual store.

See It, Feel It, Touch It, Smell It…WANT IT

Established in the main street of Springwood back in 1992, New Age Markets (also known as “The Hippy Store”) has long been one of the most popular shopping destinations in the Lower Blue Mountains, and from the moment you enter into the store it is obvious why.

Stepping inside is like stepping into the world’s greatest market bazaar. It’s a delicious feast for the senses; the inviting aroma of incense, herbal tea and scented candles; the kaleidoscope of colour in artworks, trinket boxes and tall vases; the exotic variety of inviting textures like fabric, ceramic, wood, glass and metal. There is so much to look at, so much to touch. Everything in the store is so visually appealing, a testament to Trevor’s great eye for style and impeccable taste in curating beautiful and unusual products. You can literally get lost browsing the store for hours.

Enthusiastic demand from the tourist trade and non-local customers led New Age Markets to open their online store in 2010, with an inventory of only 90 products. The store has grown more than ten-fold since then, with new stock being added all the time.

Giving Back to the Community

I watch with bemusement as a constant stream of customers enter the store and greet Trevor by name, clearly accustomed to the warm personal service that is typical of all the staff. The charismatic store owner was born and raised in Lawson, and as a proud Blue Mountains local strongly believes that business should support the local community. He often puts his money where his mouth is, donating regularly to local raffles, charities and fundraising drives like the World’s Biggest Morning Tea.

Nowhere was this community spirit and sense of generosity more evident than during the 2013 bushfire which tore through Springwood, Winmalee and Yellow Rock, completely destroying 185 homes and damaging a further 132. New Age Markets donated close to $8000 worth of new clothing from the store to bushfire victims, some of whom were literally left with nothing at the end of that day but the clothes on their back. Like many other locals, Trevor even offered his own home as shelter to people who had so tragically lost theirs.

Pendants, Piggybanks, Pink Cushions And Psychics

Gifts, homewares, kitchenware, artwork, childrens clothing, toys, fashion, furniture, accessories, shoes, jewellery, books and music…. There’s even a private room at the back where a team of psychic readers offer their services during the week; a diverse mixture of tarot, palm reading, crystal healing and cartomancy.

It’s hard to imagine how one humble outlet could possibly accommodate such a comprensive variety of products, which explains the recent decision to expand into a second retail space two doors down from the flagship store. With the Clearance Store also up and running at the other end of town, it’s no surprise that some of the locals have taken to joking that Springwood should be re-named “HippyWood”.

Have you had an awesome experience at New Age Markets? Did you unearth any incredible treasures? Get a spot-on psychic reading? Find the perfect gift? We’d love to hear about it.

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Jay Daniells

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