GIFTS on pako
Christmas and community engagement are passions for David Nolan.
“It’s been burning in me over the years to do more within the community,” says the operator of Geelong West’s new Westminster Christmas store.
“The shop has really provided an avenue to do that.”
With a financial sector background, David was happy to make a change when he acquired Westminster Christmas.
“In the financial sector you don’t get to engage with the community,” he says.
David and his family’s goal for the Geelong store is to celebrate the festive season while giving back to the community, particularly its children.
“I fundamentally love Christmas,” he declares.
“We supplied a tree for Bethany Giving Tree Appeal for their own appeal. They set up Christmas trees every year in Geelong, where people can come along and put a gift under the tree for underprivileged children.”
Westminster Christmas also sponsors Queenscliff’s Cottage by the Sea over the Christmas period.
“They’re one of the oldest registered charities in Australia. Both are great organisations to support.”
Volunteering to decorate the Children’s ward at the Geelong Hospital was another community “no-brainer” for David and the team at Westminster Christmas, he says.
They now plan to expand their engagement with the community.
“Christmas is a great time to support children unwell in hospital or underprivileged,” David says.
The Shannon Avenue store also delights children with Santa Claus in attendance from 10am to 2pm Saturdays until Christmas.
“Families gather to see him. The excitement of Santa being here brings so much joy,” David says.
“It really is a fun business that brings happiness to kids.”
With an existing store in the Melbourne suburb of Vermont, David considered Geelong a good fit for a new Westminister Christmas outlet.
“In regards to making Geelong the capital of Christmas, former mayor Darrin Lyons did an amazing job,” he observes.
“There’s no specialised Christmas shop in Geelong, so it’s a good fit to put a shop here.”
Westminister Christmas sells in-store and online but also has an arm focused on corporate decorating across Australia.
“We actually travel with my team to the United States, Europe and Asia to source products directly from overseas suppliers and we hand-pick them,” David explains.
“You won’t find our products anywhere else, like our large and unique specialty items and the best bits we find from high-end stores.”
The range includes street lamps, life-size reindeers, decorations, festive lighting and Christmas trees in various styles and colours.
“We choose the highest quality products we can and, because we source directly from overseas, it allows us to sell them at a competitive price,” David says.
After recently completing their buying trip for 2017, David and the team are excited about expanding the Westminster Christmas product lines.
The store closes at Christmas but re-opens in 2017 as a general specialist decorations business before resuming with Christmas specialities later in the year.