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Inaugural Orenda Bazaar signals exciting things are “in-store” for Moree retail sector

MORE than 100 shoppers combined with 29 local businesses recently to raise more than $6000 for the Moree District Hospital maternity ward, and in doing so helped pioneer what is hoped to become a regular “shop local” event in Moree.

The much-anticipated night of retail therapy blended perfectly with lots of laughs, good food and champagne, a fashion show and plenty of fundraising capers.

The concept was the brainchild of Orenda Bazaar, a newly-formed group of Moree ladies headed up by team leader Krystelle Parsons.

This team of inspiring Moree entrepreneurs includes Kylie Singleton, Jo Dufty, Jenny Dowey-Zell, Emma Shaw, Courtney McLennan, Kelly James and Dominique Hodgkinson.

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Orenda Bazaar team players: (L-R at back) Kylie Singleton, Jo Dufty, Jenny Dowey-Zell and (L- R at front) Emma Shaw, Courtney McLennan, Krystelle Parsons, Kelly James & Dominique Hodgkinson. Image: Nikki Rose, Warialda.

They hold their town – and its residents – close to their hearts.

Group member Kelly James said participating local businesses traded from pop-up shops in the Max Centre’s grand ballroom, where champagne and canapes were served, raffles and a scavenger hunt conducted and a fashion parade showcasing local talent set the catwalk alight.

“All in all, there were more than 40 local businesses involved as many others contributed to goodie bags that were gifted to the first 100 ticket-holders,” Ms James said.

“The whole idea was to get Moree residents to shop locally while raising money for a much-needed service in Moree – the Moree District Hospital maternity ward.”

The fashion show featured the latest styles for all ages, with clothing from local stores Millers, La Maison Rose, Assef’s and Intimo on show.

“Many Moree ladies and children donated their time to model for the event, and local hairdressers and beauticians also donated their expert advice, products and time to make the fashion show a runaway success,” Ms James said.

As shoppers arrived they were treated to canapés by Any Occasion Catering, a glass of quality champagne, and a gift-bag full of goodies and vouchers that were donated by more than 40 local businesses.

“These businesses, as well as each member of the Orenda Bazaar team, donated raffle prizes for the night with many businesses also donating auction items – even staff members from Harvey Norman Moree were put up for sale,” Ms James said.

Harvey Norman store manager Chris Smyth auctioned staff member Evan Coombes for a ‘date night’ and also offered himself and fellow staff members to wash anything the winning bidder needed cleaned.

“Stay tuned for the huge Harvey Norman truck wash,” Ms James laughed.

Fellow team member Courtney McLennan said crowd enthusiasm at last Saturday night’s inaugural event was overwhelming.

“It was exciting to see our idea come to life, with so many people providing positive feedback,” Ms McLennan said.

“The Orenda Bazaar committee is excited about what the future can hold – not only for us as a team, but for the Moree businesses that are involved and the funds that can be raised for our community.

“Social media was abuzz and business owners and shoppers are already asking ‘what is next’,” she said.

Major sponsors for Moree’s first Orenda Bazaar were Local Appliance Rentals and Aussie Kids Moree.

Hairstyles for the fashion show were supplied by Deft Hair and Rachel Kellett. The Shoe Box provided footwear and accessories while make-up and beauty products were the domain of Beauty Matters and Nutrimetics.

“Any Occasion Catering was fantastic, giving our team the use of the ballroom at a generous discount. They also donated the first drink on the night,” Ms James said.

“The night was a massive success and the Orenda Bazaar team will consult with staff at the maternity ward on how to best spend the funds raised.

“The night really showed just what Moree can do and we are already planning another similar event for later in the year,” Ms James said.

Regular updates on Orenda Bazaar’s next event can be followed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/orendabazaar/?fref=ts