The first thought Whitney Page had when she arrived in the small West Australian mining town of Kambalda six years ago was, “is this it,” ABC News reports.
She never imagined she would fall in love with the place and go on to found a local charity to help people struggling to stay above the poverty line.
Nor did she think she would come up with a unique shopping concept but Ms Page, originally from New Zealand, has done all of these things.
And it has all been possible, she said, because of her faith in others.
While businesses across the world are trialling unstaffed shops — from convenience stores to mobile phone shops — they all have one thing in common: they feel like giant vending machines.
Products are behind glass until you pay when they are delivered to you via robotic arms.
That is not the case in Kambalda, 600 kilometres from Perth, where Ms Page recently opened a different, more inviting, kind of unstaffed store.
What Goes Around Comes Around, the op shop she has founded, has no glass cabinets and no alarms.
Instead, customers are trusted to take what they want and pay for the items they choose by transferring payments directly into the shop’s bank account.
The concept of a shop with no staff and no cash register came about because there were not enough volunteers to staff it every day.
So far it seems to be working with the money from the shop going towards helping the modest unregistered charity that assists local families in crisis by paying their utility bills or providing food.