A Bears Old Wares - Buddha Shop, Yackandandah

OldBearsWares-8.jpg
After 17 years in business, Gary Hayward and Andy Stevens know the formula for success.
 
They have three stores – A Bears Old Wares – Buddha Shop in Yackandandah, the Buddha Shop in Albury and a thriving online business.
 
Gary says there is little doubt that they had learned some valuable lessons along the way.”
 
“We are lucky in that we know what people want and we offer a point of difference – people won’t find our stock just anywhere and we have moved with the times,” he says.
 
“Our online business is one where we have diversified in what we are doing and that move has really paid off for us.
 
“In all our stores, we get stock from around the world, unusual products that people can’t get elsewhere.
 
“Our shop in Yackandandah also has the most amazing meditation room and people come in there and can sit and contemplate about having a better life, if they are having a hard time for instance, and that is just an experience you can’t get everywhere.”
 
Gary says that as business partners, he and Andy were not afraid to try new things.
 
“At the moment, we have started Gandi’s Forest, which is a combination of our names,” he said.
 
“It is a new project where we are growing our own sandalwood to sell in the shop, and you just won’t see that happening anywhere else around here,” he said.
 
“I have never done my School Certificate, have not done any formal business study, but we sell what we believe in with passion.
 
“We have always worked very hard for what we have and believe you have to – you need to be dedicated and you need to know what you are doing and trust yourself to make bold decisions.”
 
Gary says they had also enjoyed a highlight this year when they did a Commonwealth Games display at their Albury shop on India, which resulted in a visit from the Consul to the Consul General of India.
“This opened up a massive door for us, not only now but for the future,” he says.
The business also regular donates to various causes, including wildlife charities.