It is our birthday! Where has the last 15 years gone?

Posted by Illara Norgren on May 25, 2021 at 10:55 AM

Our little family run business opened its doors to the Macedon Ranges in March 2006.

Having successfully managed and operated a store in Moonee Ponds from 1997, we thought it time to earn our own money and set up a better financial future. So, we began the processes, made plans, found the perfect premises, and set the installation in motion.

Meanwhile, we took our four school aged children, who ranged in ages from 8, 11, 12 and 16 years, across the Nullarbor to Perth for a three-week holiday. In our KIA Carnival and a Jayco Hawk campervan, much to the disgruntlement of the passengers in the back, (who were mostly bored) we made some amazing memories. Games like ‘I Spy’ were short lived and the only technology we had to entertain them was a clunky laptop computer with built in DVD player attached to a 12-volt inverter! This was a trip to treasure and the stories I can tell is a blog for another time.

Arriving back, we were pleased to see the brand new, state of the art, dry cleaning machine had been installed into the shop and the rest of the equipment followed soon after. With much anticipation and excitement, we could finally open the doors to the public. Trade was slow to start, but soon picked up momentum and 15 years later has grown into the fantastic and successful business it is today.

This accomplishment was not without difficulties. We had our share of ups and downs like any business. We have seen clientele changes with the moving on of older locals and the boom of a younger population. We have witnessed economic downturns and in opposite, surges. There was even a time we nearly went broke, but we kept on fighting the good fight.

By 2010 we decided to finally renovate our old 1893 weatherboard house. We moved into a rental so as not to disrupt the children too much and life was straight forward. The kids were growing fast, doing the usual teenage things, and hubby and I reached our 20th wedding anniversary. By now I was beginning to realise that I was not happy, and we separated, divorcing the following year. The house renovations took another 2 years to complete, and we continued to operate the business as a partnership.

My life went from ‘we’ to ‘I’ as I ventured into the unknown to reclaim me.

In 2014 my eldest daughter and I decided to take an opportunity and set up a café. It was a great little business, but soon found myself working far too many hours and eventually signed sole ownership to her. I could now get back some life and I took a trip to the northern Territory with some close friends and had THE BEST TIME!

Coming down off my holiday ‘high’, I felt a need to get serious about my future as a bankruptcy was looming. In 2015 I became the sole owner of Macedon Ranges Dry Cleaners. With a lot of long hours and hard work, I turned the business around and I can honestly say I am so proud of what I have achieved to date. I was able to upgrade my car and in 2019 undertook a major transformation to the factory with new equipment, bringing environmentally friendly dry cleaning to the district. The business was doing well and I was heading for financial prosperity for the first time in my life.

2020 saw something that the world was not ready for – a pandemic. Boy, did that make a statement. So much death and sickness, so much tragedy. Businesses around the globe suffered with many closing thier doors permanently. It affected big business and small. The Covid-19 virus was not discriminate. To those who endured the rough ride and survived, you need to be congratulated for getting to the other end. To those who suffered and lost, you have the world’s population sending you condolences, love, and encouragement. All we can do now is live, live life in happiness every day. I am so grateful for the on-going support I have been shown during this difficult period in our living history. My business would not have survived without you.

In the last 15 years, my children having gone from primary school, graduating high school, obtaining university degrees and great work ethics, have grown into amazing adults with just as remarkable partners. Three of them have married and given me four beautiful grandchildren. My wonderful father passed away, and I have got to know my siblings better, even meeting my half-sister for the first time. I am currently living in a caravan which has been a blessing during Covid. I have become more tolerant, and care more about the people around me. Some say, I wear my heart on my sleeve! People have left my life, and at the same time, I have gained long term friendships and made some incredible memories. I met my new forever partner, became engaged in 2016 and will marry this wonderful human sometime soon…

What a roller coaster the past 15 years has been for the planet!

Space travel is becoming a real thing making shows like Star Trek a reality. Buildings are getting taller, global population has popped and climate change is melting the icecaps. We have cars driving themselves that use less fuel. In the world sphere, we saw the rise and fall of some questionable characters in seats of power, and it appears terrorism and violence has become more prevalent, or is it because the world is far more open to knowledge?

Technology has changed significantly where we all (adults and children alike) hold computers in palm of our hands and not sit at massive dusty pcs in the corner of the room. The internet went from a slow dialup system where it took 20 minutes to download one song to a super-fast NBN fibreoptic network giving us a world of entertainment enabling the watching of movies on handheld devices, or stranger still, on our wrists. Knowledge is but a click away, and the internet has seen the growth of ‘online’ shopping. Less and less, we venture into the large shopping malls to get what we need or want as it arrives directly to our doors! This extends to Dr Google, where we would prefer to self-diagnose than go to a real doctor. Banking is predominantly conducted online, because if you need to visit a bank, they may charge you for the privilege.

The art of photography belongs to us all now. No longer do we need to use outdated negative film where we needed to be careful snapping the subject and waiting for the local developer to put picture to paper. I can still remember shrinking in embarrassment, knowing the person handing you the envelope has seen what is in your photos. Nowadays we ‘click’ away taking endless images, deleting what we do not need on a whim. Fashions have changed many times, sometimes for the greater good. Smoking became a thing of the past and is no longer ‘cool’, and more people aim to treat their bodies more healthily. A restaurant and café culture has brought us the enjoyment of coffee, and we now consume so much more of this delicious liquid gold.

What will the next 15 years hold? I cannot help but think, there is so much more to come…


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