TEAM: Grafton Office Choice owners Jude and Geoff Hardaker share a laugh with employee Jess Neilson and store manager Leigh Connor.
TEAM: Grafton Office Choice owners Jude and Geoff Hardaker share a laugh with employee Jess Neilson and store manager Leigh Connor. Clair Morton

A choice move into the Clarence Valley

THE Clarence Valley now has more choice when it comes to office staples, with the opening of a stationary supplier in Grafton.

Office Choice is one of the newest businesses to move into the Prince St precinct, and according to owner Geoff Hardaker it could not have come soon enough.

Mr Hardaker, who is also the owner of an Office Choice in Coffs Harbour, has been lending his services to the Clarence Valley since the 1970s.

"We've been coming up here from Coffs since 1978, installing and servicing machines - but as Office Choice since 2008," he said.

"Business built up here enough that we've established a pretty good foothold.

"There's nobody else doing what we do - the full compliment of stationary, range of office furniture and supplying machinery. And the biggest difference with the machinery, is that we fix it."

 

Office Choice has recently opened in Prince Street.
Office Choice has recently opened in Prince Street. Caitlan Charles

 

While they are still in the process of setting up and settling in, the store has already brought five new jobs to the region.

Two of those positions have been filled by former employees of City Centre News, which closed its doors in June.

Store manager Leigh Connor said they tried to support locals in everything they did, from fit-out to employees.

A resident of Sandy Beach, she has worked for the Hardakers on and off since she was 21-years-old, and knows how important that aspect is to the Coffs Harbour couple.

"Everything we've done has been employing local people," Mr Hardaker said. "We're trying to be as local as we can be, and we need the people to make us local or we can't stay."

He and Ms Connor do have a slight leg-up in that respect; they both have family members in the Grafton area who will be happy to see more of him in the district.

"My 96 year-old aunty is still in town, she's been here her whole life," he said.

"She's always coming to visit; I'm surprised she hasn't walked in to say hi today. "



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