THE Clarence Valley has beckoned its fair share of people escaping the rat race of Sydney, and Holly and Marco Ustiani are the latest to fall for its laidback charm.
The couple moved to Palmers Island nine months ago when the opportunity arose to start their own business - The Palmers Store.
"We'd been living in Sydney for six years and our friends offered to lease us the building; so it was a matter of stay in Sydney and do the rat race thing, or do our own thing," Mrs Ustiani said.
Both come from hospitality backgrounds and opening the shop was the next step for them.
"We are trying to bring back the traditional general store.
"We sell ice, milk, bread, eggs, fresh fruit, but we're also a takeaway with all home-style cooking. Plus we've got the bottleshop component."
She said the Palmers Island community had missed a store since the former one closed down.
"We're sort of in no-man's land here between Yamba and Maclean; so to have this, with space to pull off the road to grab a bite to eat and a coffee on the way to and from work is going to be really convenient," Mrs Ustiani said.
A freelance photographer by trade, Mrs Ustiani plans to restart her photography business (Hollie Bree Photography) once the shop is up and running.
While she specialises in hospitality and lifestyle photography, she plans to get back into her former area of interest, weddings.
They said they were excited to start their new adventure in the Valley and had already received great feedback from customers.
"We've met a lot of locals and new people and I'm originally from the Far South Coast so I am used to living in a small country area," she said. "We're not missing the rat race at all!"
The store opened on Friday and opening times are still up in the air.
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