PROUD: Julie Kirby is the owner of MJ's Retro & Vintage Wares, Benaraby cafe and is taking part in this year's Town Proud campaign.
PROUD: Julie Kirby is the owner of MJ's Retro & Vintage Wares, Benaraby cafe and is taking part in this year's Town Proud campaign. Matt Taylor GLA150519TOWN

'They don't make that stuff any more': Vintage cafe owner

AN opportunity to get their business more exposure within the region was what inspired MJ's Retro and Vintage Wares owners Julie Kirby and Marty Hayden to become involved with The Observer's Town Proud campaign.

And so far, it's working.

"People have supported it really well, everyone knows about it and they've supported it and come in," Ms Kirby said.

As long-time Gladstone region residents, Mr Hayden said he could see the importance of keeping businesses on the community's radar.

Ms Kirby said it was important for both business owners and customers to support local.

"It's just good to support them because the small businesses get pushed out by the bigger companies like McDonald's and Coffee Clubs because they're well known, whereas smaller businesses aren't," she said.

They have run the Benaraby cafe and giftware store for four and a half years.

Ms Kirby said around half their customers were locals however they attracted many travellers due to the highway location.

"We do get a lot of locals and regulars who have breakfast and coffee," she said.

"(We get) a lot of foreigners through, we recently had some actors come in that did a show in Rockhampton who came dressed up as characters come in and we get car clubs come in.

"At the moment we've got all the grey nomads coming through."

In the cafe you can expect coffee, old-fashioned hamburgers and milkshakes on the menu while the store sells collectables and antiques.

"There's new (memorabilia) we're putting in, framed T- shirts signed by famous people," she said.

"Hard Rock Cafe pins, records, jackets, signed shirts, football shirts."

Mr Hayden said they took extra effort to hold onto anything that showed local history.

"We've got books from when the harbour was built, a lot of older documented stuff, a lot of touristy stuff, even right back to the 20s," he said.

"Tourist hankies, they don't make that stuff any more."

They said the Town Proud campaign highlighted the importance of locals looking out for locals.

"This is one of the best places to live and be in, why not support the locals?" Mr Hayden said.

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