Name: Leonie Darling

Position: Co-owner

Address: Shop 2/71 Pine Avenue, Mildura

Social media: Facebook – Border Hobbies

Open since: November, 2015

A shared love of tinkering with remote control cars 10 years ago was the beginning of Border Hobbies.

John and Leonie Darling bought their son Aaron a remote control car for Christmas when he was 12.

“They bonded over it,” Leonie says.

“They got involved in a hobby remote control car club. They just love tinkering with them.”

Now Aaron is 22 and runs the store with his mum.

“They don’t play as much now – it’s more about big cars for them,” Leonie says.

“But they really love helping others. John loves to help the kids when they come in. He teaches them how to fix things themselves so they learn about it too, which they really enjoy.”

Since it opened in 2015, Border Hobbies has since expanded its range from remote control cars to also include Ravensburger jigsaw puzzles, Meccano, Bruder toys, Diamond Dotz, craft, model cars, trucks and planes, and painting kits.

Leonie says many who come into the store are surprised by the range in stock.

“The older people come looking for the planes and jigsaws, others come in looking for cars, younger ones come in for the cars, mums bring kids in,” she says.

“It used to be boys toys, but now it’s for everyone.”

While Leonie says her husband John and son Aaron originally started the shop, she now works there full-time.

“I just love the customers. I love talking to them. We’ve met so many friends through the shop, especially people who come in for a chat, who are really important to us.”

Leonie says she, Aaron and John go “above and beyond” for their customers.

“Everyone says they like our friendly nature and customer service,” she says.


Why did you choose Mildura City Heart?

“We used to be on Eleventh Street, but we wanted to go to a bigger shop in a better location with reasonable rent and plenty of foot traffic. It was all about location.”

Other than your own store, what is your favourite shop within Mildura City Heart?

“I’d have to say Banjo’s.”

What does shopping local mean to you?

“Shopping local means keeping the local economy strong.”