A local favourite for 26 years, Williams Shoes is still going strong. With brands like Colorado, Diana Ferrari, I Love Billy and Skechers, customers have endless footwear options to choose from whether it be for a special occasion, back to school or everything in between. In exciting news, the store is undergoing renovations with a fresh new look being revealed in April 2021. We asked the store managers to give us some hints as to what the brand-new Williams will look like. “It’ll have an upmarket look with all the latest styles to feature in the store” said Heather.
The team and relief store managers Slav Velkovski and Heather O’Neil all live locally and love interacting with the many familiar faces of Figtree to help them find their perfect fit. For Slav and Heather, the best part of living in the Illawarra is the beautiful beaches, parks and cafes. The relaxed vibe of the city is also a big plus for the duo. Selected staff also assist in the local community by volunteering with the elderly.
The store is renowned for its personalised service and experienced staff. Complimentary home delivery is offered for all purchases, as well as a free measure and fit for customers. If you’re someone who struggles to find shoes in your size, Williams is the perfect option with an extensive range of sizes to fit both extra small and large feet. And if you didn’t need any more encouragement, the store has a promotion running all year round. Buy one item and receive your second pair of footwear half price – there’s no such thing as too many shoes!
Wendy’s Milk Bar
Life is better with ice-cream. Especially when it’s served with a smile from Chris and the friendly team at Wendy’s Milk Bar. Established in the shopping centre for over 20 years, it’s become a local institution for Figtree locals looking for a sweet treat or some lunch. There is something on the menu for everyone, whether it be a milkshake, thickshake, hotdog, chips, ice cream, sausage roll or pie, smoothie or even one of their famous ice cream cakes.
Owner Chris has operated the store for four years now. Originally travelling to Sydney for shift work, he jumped at the opportunity to run a local business that would allow him to have a better work life balance and spend more time with his family. Chris loves a chat and enjoys interacting with all the customers. There are many regulars that come back time and time again for the personalised service and yummy treats that Wendy’s Milk Bar is renowned for. As a Figtree local, Chris loves working close to home and is proud to have a store that is part of the local community. Originally from the bush, Chris loves the lifestyle and convenience of living in the Illawarra. “We’ve got everything from the beach to the mountains and the bush too”.
A passion for Chris is designing and creating custom ice cream cakes for his customers. He is supplied the base in a range of flavours and then works his magic decorating and styling the cake to a specified theme. Some of his delicious themed creations include a circus, unicorn, panda and even a Minecraft cake! Besides the made to order cakes that Chris produces, there are also a range of ready-made cakes on display in store if you’re looking for a cake in a hurry.
The store is continually introducing new products, especially different styles of shakes and hot dogs. However, a favourite amongst customers is the (very) yummy Flake SupaShake – a choc malt flavoured thickshake, topped off with Cadbury Flake pieces. Next time you’re at Figtree Grove, grab one to go for the kids (and yourself!).
Phone a friend
RN Communications is a one stop shop for all your technology needs (think mobile phones, laptops and tablets). If you own any one of these items, then chances are you’ve probably met store manager Shane (hands up if you’re a return customer for a cracked screen repair?!). Operating in Figtree Grove for six years, the store has become the go-to destination for repairs and accessories likes cases and screen protectors.
Store manager Shane has worked at RN Communications for five years and counting. Shane doesn’t live locally, although he says that he can’t go past Wollongong’s beautiful beaches and delicious food. And one of his favourite NRL teams is the St George Illawarra Dragons (so he’s counted as a local in our eyes!). For Shane, the problem solving required to fix phones is what he enjoys most about working at RN Communications. The best sellers in store right now are accessories for the newly released Samsung phone and Apple iPhone. A firm favourite amongst customers is also the range of MacBook cases available.
A new service has recently been introduced to the store called micro soldering. New equipment has been purchased to allow the team to do this type of repair, which is the replacement of small chips on the motherboard. The microscope has to be zoomed in 30 times just to be able to view the tiny chips. It’s a challenging repair, but one that Shane and the team really enjoy doing.
If you’ve broken one of your all-important devices or if you’re in need of an accessory update, pop into see the experienced team at RN Communications. Located next to Kmart.
A long-time staple of Figtree Grove, Lowes is a one stop shop for everyone. The brand is owned and operated by one family for over 120 years and is an Australian icon. Not only does Lowes stock a wide range of menswear and workwear, but also offers school uniforms, formalwear and even dog accessories (including the cutest little coats!). There are three ranges of menswear including Big Mens, Classic Mens and younger men’s fashion.
There’s a familiar face that you’ve probably seen at Lowes Figtree for over 12 years – Store Manager Manuela. A Wollongong local and registered Justice of the Peace, Manuela says that top customer service and great staff are what sets the store apart. Many of the customers are regulars, who keep coming back for that good old-fashioned personal service. Manuela is fluent in Italian and loves having a chat to his Italian customers. The Lowes team is comprised of staff from different backgrounds and ages, which is perfect for interacting with a wide variety of customers. We quizzed Manuela on what he loves about living in the Illawarra. His reply? “Our area has everything and there’s something for everyone with the beaches, mountains, work and recreation”.
A favourite at the moment are Lowes Classic and Slim Fit Suits. An affordable (yet stylish) option for any special occasion, formalwear is popular range in the Figtree store. There are dress pants and buttoned tops for children too. As the cooler months approach, Manuela also says that dog coats have been flying off the shelves. The new Autumn/Winter range (for humans!) is in store now – we recommend a visit to stock up on those winter warmers for the cooler days ahead.
A healthy and sustainable future is at the heart of Figtree Organics. Established in Figtree Grove for over 30 years, the store is a go-to for customers looking for raw treats and health foods. Specialising in gluten free and vegan products, the store also stocks proteins, cosmetics and supplements. Our pick? The most delicious peanut butter, which is grinded and packaged by the team using Australian peanuts (with nothing else added). Yum! The free-range eggs are also a must-have for customers looking to support local farmers.
Owners Alison and Jodie have run the store for the past two years but collectively have worked in the health food industry for over 50 years (they know their stuff!). Their aim is to passionately deliver the Illawarra a number one healthy destination. We certainly think they’ve achieved just that! The team are all proud Wollongong locals. You’ll find Alison and Jodie managing the store alongside Wendy (who is an expert in body building and protein supplements) and Alison’s daughter Toria (who looks after all things digital and is setting up a new online buying system).
We asked the team for their recommendation on a must try product. The answer? You can’t go past the locally made vegan raw treats. “They’re delicious, guilt free, gluten and dairy free, plus refined sugar free” says Alison. Recently, a range of homewares has also been introduced to the store. This offering includes gorgeous glassware, teapots and farm animals, which are perfect for gifts for family and friends.
Working in retail has been very rewarding for both Alison and Jodie. They have enjoy getting to know all the Figtree Organic customers and helping them find the right products. They also like to support the community, making donations to school and supplier fundraisers.
Every three months, they have a stall at the ‘Planted’ vegan markets in Wollongong, showcasing their range and meeting like-minded locals. When you’re next out shopping, we recommend popping into Figtree Organics and saying hello to the team. It’s a foodie destination for those after a healthy alternative and sustainable way of living.