Katie Smith, Country Living

Owner-operator Katie Smith was born and raised in Gore. Smith and her husband have lived in the Great South all their lives with their two daughters Laura and Josie. Smith strived to ensure she had a great work-life balance and is proud to say she has her dream job. Aiming to be self-employed, Smith started out by owning a local café and then bought the retail store Country Living over four years ago. “We have expanded into fashion as we find it works well with our existing homeware and giftware,” she added. “We want our customers to leave our store feeling like they can’t wait to return,” Smith said making everyone feel welcome is a key part of business, and that customers always come first. “It’s a fun place to be and enjoy retail therapy.”

Smith, alongside her two daughters, spend a lot of time researching the latest trends and have the best team in-store. Sourcing unique pieces from expos for all different tastes, the team aims to have something for everyone and every occasion. “We couldn’t do Country Living without our team, they are awesome.” Looking ahead, Smith is finding new and exciting ways to expand her business; like her upcoming Christmas store.

Country Living’s point of difference is their diverse range of stock, customer service, as well as offering new ideas and displays. “We are very enthusiastic and love challenges.” Around 18 months ago, they decided to branch out into e-commerce which turned out to be a huge success. Boasting 14,000 followers on Facebook, Country Living offers special competitions while trying to reflect their warmth they are known for in-store online. Smith added that if you don’t offer both a physical store and online, you will be left behind.

After the Hokonui Fashion Design Awards, Country Living has organised a window display featuring the winning garment by Debbie Smith who won the Open Recycled Award. “We greatly support all local community activities, sponsoring prizes, giveaways, donations. In Gore, the local businesses have banded together to help each other and keep people shopping locally,” she explained. “We have a saying in Gore ‘Love Gore, Shop Local’ and the community has definitely got behind this.”

Located in the thriving rural town, going from strength to strength, this retailer shows no signs of slowing down. For more information visit
www.morethangifts.co.nz or call 0274782535.