A popular book store has received a warm welcome from the community upon its return to Ballarat.
The Known World Bookstore reopened on Saturday in its new location on Main Road after leaving the city a few years ago.
First operating out of Buninyong in 2001, the store moved into a location along Sturt Street in 2009. The store called Ballarat home through to 2017 when owner Michelle Coxall made the difficult decision to leave Ballarat for a location in Linton.
Now, after three years removed from the city, the store is back. Mrs Coxall said while there was some initial anxiety about opening the store in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, early support from the community quickly calmed her nerves.
"I got cold feet very early on once I took over this building," she said.
"However as the doors got closer to opening I honestly just became more and more confident that the community would support me.
"I found there were so many people who found out one way or another that we were reopening and they were so excited to return to the shop... that made me feel like everything would be okay."
After seeing the community response during the stores first weekend open, Mrs Coxall said she feels reaffirmed in her belief that people are moving away from looking at their phones all the time and are moving back towards books.
"I honestly think that during the COVID-19 shutdown, there has been a recalibration in what people are looking for... people are sick of staring at their screens. They are returning to books and it's great to see."
As she looks forward, Mrs Coxall said another reason she feels confident about re-opening her business during the pandemic is because of the renewed sense of community support for small businesses.
She added her belief COVID-19 had made the community realise how much small businesses mean for Ballarat.
"It's been such a battle for everybody during this time... community realises what they are losing. There is a really concerted effort to support small businesses.
"A woman came in on Monday morning and bought $67 worth of books, I told her I would be happy to round it down to $60, however she wouldn't let me and insisted I rounded the total up to $70... That shows you how much people value our local businesses, our community wants to see small businesses thrive."
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