15 April, 2021
Miller Street doll shop
A new store is taking up residence in Miller Street.
Doug and Joan Clouten have just opened Gil Hidden Treasures, a store which allows them to show off their extensive doll collection and maybe sell a few while they’re at it.
Mrs Clouten said there was a look of relief on their youngest son’s face when they let him know they were opening up the store.
“When we thought about getting rid of the dolls, we realised it was going to be a mammoth job and there was a look of relief on the youngest son’s face when we told him we’d get a shop here for a couple of years,” she said.
The Cloutens have been collecting dolls for over 30 years and even they aren’t sure of how many they’ve got, with the pair estimating anywhere between 300 and 500.
“We never had any intention of selling any but, we just decided at our age we thought it was pretty unfair to leave them for our children to get rid of,” said Mr Clouten.
Not only do the Cloutens hope to thin their collection a bit, but they also want to use the store as another attraction for Gilgandra without stepping on the toes of pre-existing businesses. “Our big thing is that we plan to not compete with anything anyone else has for sale, we don’t want to go heavily into gift lines, and we’ve got dolls clothes but not people’s clothes.
“There probably isn’t another shop like this within a 500-kilometre radius. There used to be a few scattered around the countryside but they’ve all gone by the wayside. This is a way for us to get rid of some of our dolls but it’s also an attraction for the town and helps fill one of the shops up in the main street,” said Mr Clouten.
Mrs Clouten said that this isn’t the first time they’ve displayed their dolls and that they’ve always been a hit with tourists.
“We used to go to a lot of doll shows and we owned a hotel in Parkes where we built a room onto it to make a doll museum. We bought The Windmill Hotel in Gilgandra and we had a few on display there as well. Tourists used to love looking at them.”
Mrs Clouten said that there is a certain piece of mind that comes with selling the dolls themselves, rather than sending them away for auction.
“It’s good to know if someone is buying my dolls, I know where they’re going, they’re going to a home where somebody loves them.
“Some of the dolls on sale and display predate WWI as well as a large range of dolls made between then and WWII.”