Ambition to boost strong CBD footprint

Lincoln BertelliSouth Western Times

Ness Schefe has only been in Bunbury for less than four years but already owns two businesses, has started a fortnightly market and has a vision for the city’s future.

The former resident of Queensland tourist hotspot Noosa has lived around the world but sees Bunbury as her long-term home after establishing a strong CBD footprint.

She owns side-by-side businesses in Victoria Street – clothing store 3ciana and Sweeney Todd Barber’s Shop – and is also the co-founder of the waterfront Bunbury Markets.

It may be a surprise that the 42-year-old only started Sweeney Todd as a way of channelling more foot traffic into 3ciana.

“With today’s economy, you have to diversify in business,” Ness said.

“When women are shopping, men are getting a haircut.

“I knew a barber shop would work well there and the reason for the name is just that I needed to stand out and be different.”

Ness described Bunbury as a “little gem” with a lot of potential and believed there were tourism opportunities that needed to be tapped into.

“I would like to see Bunbury open its doors to real tourism,” she said.

“The arts are really well received and Bunbury is already starting to take that route.

“To see all the sculptures on roundabouts is really cool – I think Bunbury doesn’t realise quite what it has.

“In the next 10 years, I would love to see the whole CBD alive and have independent businesses that are self-sufficient.

“We need to create things that bring people to the area and that is why the Bunbury Markets were created.”

“They showcase the best of what is produced in the South West and it keeps the money in the South West.”

Started at the end of 2015 and held every second weekend at the waterfront Queens Gardens, the markets have grown from having 24 stalls to regularly attracting between 55 and 60.

Ness said she was “ecstatic” with how the markets had been received by the public.

“With all my business ventures, I work seven days a week – it’s a lot of hard work but it’s fine,” she said.

“I’m hoping to change the buying habits of Bunbury people.

“Instead of people going to a big blue chip company, come and meet the baker who bakes your goods.”

Outside of her work life, Ness is a passionate surfer but admits she has not found too much time to hit the water since moving to WA.

“I have probably only been about 12 times in the last three years,” she said.

“Surfing is my passion and I would love to get an artificial reef in Bunbury in the future.

“It would activate the Back Beach.”

There is no doubt Ness has a strong ambition and while her time spent in Bunbury so far may be relatively short, her plan is to be part of the South West’s future.

“I have built the foundations to stay for a long time and see myself being in Bunbury for the next 20 years,” she said.

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