By Sam Watson 
THE easing of restrictions for regional Victoria allowed a very special event to take place in Korumburra on Saturday.

After a year of operating online, the Hare and Tortoise Bookstore opened their doors to the public at 69 Commercial Street, Korumburra.

And for owner Hilary Sullivan, the grand opening exceeded all expectations.

“People milled around way before opening time, which was 10am,” Hilary said.

“I just assumed a few people would come in in the morning and a few people would come in in the afternoon, but it was just constant all day.

“There was a line up the street to come into the store all day and on Sunday it was very busy again.

“It was a great opening weekend, my stock was quite depleted, luckily I’ve got new stock arriving this week.

“I was blown away.”

And Hilary was also pleased with the huge amount of positive feedback she received from customers.

“It was amazing, they were telling me how happy they were to have a bookstore in Korumburra and that they can access new releases, special orders, click and collects, all on their doorstep.

“They were so appreciative, and I was so appreciative of the support for the whole weekend.

“They’ve been wanting this for a long time.”

Hilary said she also received great feedback on the way she curated the stock.

“I’ve pretty much hand selected the titles, in terms of what I think will suit the customer, what they would want to read.

“And books that you can’t really go into any big store and find them on the shelf, these are titles that are personally selected for the customer.

“They also really liked the variety that went with all the generic popular titles, as well as titles surrounding social issues.”

Along with her variety of classics, non-fictions, cooking, gardening, biographies, children’s, young adults, and other styles of books, she’s put a lot of focus on stocking Australian and indigenous writers.

And to go with that, she offers Australian made stationery as well.

“I’d say 90 per cent of my stock is Australian made, because a lot of books are printed here in Australia and I really like to support everything Australian made,” Hilary said.

And she has big plans for the future of her store.

“I really hope the community stays behind me, as it’s been for the last few weeks and throughout being based online.

“I’d really like it to grow further and partner up with local schools, other local businesses for things like small group readings, local authors can come along.

“I’d really like it to become a little hub.”