Ruby’s Cargo. That quirky, ‘gifty’ craft shop at Wentworth is turning 21.

And to celebrate those behind the ‘town on two rivers’ retail success story are planning a day-long celebration on Saturday, May 8.

Some of the names and faces have changed during the past two decades, but the co-op of Wentworth craftspeople has remained true to its roots.

Roots that run deep in the town with one of the founders, Maree McLeod, and her Woolshed Pantry products for example, still being integral to the shop today.

Other long-termers have also become synonymous with the shop including Marg Jackson, Ashley Moore, Chris Larwood and Elma Neville.

“Some of the faces have changed amongst our members, consignees and volunteers,” Marg reflected this week, “But Ruby’s Cargo has never deviated from being the supplier of the best of hand-crafted goods.”

From the outset Ruby’s Cargo has been a co-operative of craft makers. The members, there are eight of them at the moment, supply crafts for sale, work in the shop and generally manage the business.

Then there are another 50 to 60 other craftspeople who supply products for sale on consignment.

And then there are a core of five to eight volunteers who help staff the shop, but are not actively involved in making sales items.
It is a system that has worked well for all those involved for the past 21 years.

“And that is what we are celebrating,” Marg said.

Now, you might think the shop was named after Wentworth’s iconic paddle steamer.

Not so, Marg tells me.

It is a coincidence, nothing more. In fact, she reveals, it was not even the first choice of names favoured by the founders.

What was is lost to the passing of time, and whether there was any subliminal messaging can never be proven or disproved, but Ruby’s Cargo it became.

Starting out in a rented Darling Street shop, Ruby’s was established with a lot of enthusiasm, and hope, but without a telephone!

To contact the shop you had to visit.

Times have changed, and the shop now boasts it’s own mobile number, a facebook page and even an EFTPOS machine.

Ruby’s is moving with the times, Marg tells me.

The shop shifted to its present, high profile corner position on Sandwych and Adams Streets in 2004.

It has been a good move for the co-op, boosting its visual presence in the town and also its trade.

And what a trade! You can buy anything from soap to leatherwork; or from jams, pickles and sauces to a patchwork quilt. And quite a few things in between including olive oil, jewellery, hats, scarves, dried fruits and nuts, salt, a hand bag or a doll or bear!

So, how is Ruby’s going to celebrate this auspicious milestone?

With an open house. From 10am to 3pm on Saturday, May 8, when Ruby’s visitors will be treated to coffee and cake, on the house.

Then, from 3pm to 5pm, invited guests will take part in a drinks and nibbles-type celebration.

All-in-all a big day for a Wentworth success story.