While many retailers struggle to keep their doors open Mary Holstein has shown that innovation, hard work and good old fashioned business ethics is a sure path to success.
She has also shown that while running a business it is possible to bring up a family of five and give them all a job (in the business) while husband Chris (Councillor and former Gosford Mayor) attends to community matters.
So it was that after buying a sandwich shop at West Gosford, selling that and moving on to a florist business at East Gosford, Mary Holstein saw an opportunity at Woy Woy.
Firstly though, in the year before that she had established a retail business in Bateau Bay selling new age items like alternative books, incense, crystals and clothing along with psychic and tarot card readings and realised that she was onto something. She called it Gnostic Forest!
In 1998 Mrs Holstein spotted a small shop behind the corner café almost opposite Fishermen’s Wharf in Woy Woy which offered reasonable rent.
The move to Woy Woy would prove to be a good decision because the Gnostic Forest business took off.
Today Mary Holstein’s Gnostic businesses turnover around $1.2 million annually and employ some 50 people.
Photo: Mary Holstein with daughter Emily