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Collins Booksellers opens in Thirroul, NSW

Collins Booksellers has opened a store in the town of Thirroul in New South Wales. Located 70km south of Sydney, Collins Thirroul is the only bookstore in the Northern Illawarra region.

Owners Amanda Isler and Deborah Thompson, who are sisters, told Books+Publishing the shop is ‘independent in philosophy’.

Isler and Thompson had been planning to open a bookshop for several years. ‘Deb kept saying the only thing Thirroul needs is a bookstore,’ said Isler, who has 12 years’ experience bookselling. Isler previously worked at Berkelouw Books in Berrima, NSW and set up and managed their Eumundi, Queensland shop, before moving to Hill of Content in Balmain, Sydney.

A ‘retirement’ plan of sorts, the sisters plan to alternate overseas trips and running the shop, as Isler’s family live in Switzerland and Thompson travels to Myanmar annually to teach English.

Isler credits her experience working with Collins at Hill of Content for the decision to open a franchise store with the bookselling chain. ‘I saw the back end and how it’s run, their purchasing power … they’re very supportive. We wouldn’t have got the space without the support of Collins.’

Situated inside Thirroul’s iconic Anita’s Theatre, which was built in 1925, the shop has an Art Deco feel, with stained glass windows looking onto the street. The sisters reported that since the opening, the shop has been very busy and is ‘looking good and filling up’ with stock in time for Christmas. They plan to stock both new release and secondhand books, and have a ‘huge database of events’ in the works.

‘It’s a very educated and affluent market in Thirroul, lots of families with young children. January will be a busy time for us,’ said Isler.

There has been high local demand for a bookshop in the area, as Isler believes the last bookshop in the Northern Illawarra region closed down about 10 years ago. As a result, there’s been ‘a fantastic response’ from the community. ‘People come in and say thank you, thank you for opening a bookshop!’ The town’s population of ‘academics, writers and reviewers’ has been ‘amazingly supportive’.

Rockwiz was doing two nights at the theatre and Brian [Nankervis] came into the store. He invited us to come to the show, then [onstage] he did this big shout-out to us and everyone cheered!’ said Isler.


Category: Local news