JULIA Gleeson hasn’t had to travel far for a sea change.
In early November Ms Gleeson moved from Warrnambool to Portland with her two young daughters and opened a gift and homewares shop overlooking the city’s waterfront.
She said the move had been exciting and so far everything was going well.
“So far so good,” she said.
“My partner Tim lives in Portland and works at the smelter, so we’ve been travelling backwards and forwards between Warrnambool and Portland for a while. I decided one of us needed to move. My girls are a bit younger than Tim’s boys, so it was easier for me to move them across so I bit the bullet and did it.”
Ms Gleeson said her daughters were enjoying their new school, kindergarten and home.
“They have both settled in well. Maggie’s school is a five-minute drive from the shop. She seems to be enjoying it. They have a farm so at lunchtimes they can go down and help with the animals,” she said.
“Charli is at kinder and has made some good friends and really seems to be enjoying it.”
The new business is also a lifestyle change for Ms Gleeson, who is no stranger to running a small business.
Having owned cafés, Ms Gleeson said she was keen to try something different to hospitality.
“I had a look through some of the other similar shops in Portland and deliberately tried to be different,” she said.
“Before we opened, people were talking about the shop and asking when we would be open. It was great to feel so welcome.
“We have felt so welcome over here.
“Portland is a bit of a forgotten gem in the south-west. It’s a beautiful spot and with a view like this from the front counter, I can’t complain.”
Ms Gleeson said she could see herself living and working in Portland for the foreseeable future.
“It has everything we need here and if it doesn’t Warrnambool or Hamilton are only an hour away,” she said.
“There are good schools, a hospital and plenty of opportunities. I can see us living here for a while to come.”