IT HAS been a tough year for retail.
Big chain stores have bitten the dust or reduced their footprint.
However, it appears Tamworth shops are built to last.
Independent clothing stores on Peel Street are surviving in a rapidly and aggressively changing environment, while the future remains uncertain for national brands like Jeanswest.
The Other Shop nearly had a line out the door earlier this week.
It was probably the pulling power country music star Kasey Chambers doing an in-store appearance during the festival which caused the scene.
It gets people in your door and not just looking at it on social media.Shop owner - Eifla Hardman
However, it was a ringing endorsement for bricks-and-mortar retail in a trying time.
The Other Shop is the only physical store in Australia which stocks Chambers' label.
The store's owner, Eifla Hardman, said clothing was usually the first expense people shelved in a economic downturn.
But there was still a lot to be said for offering a good in-store experience.
"It gets people in your door and not just looking at it on social media and going 'what is that like'," she said.
"They're coming in and touching, feeling the clothes and getting an in-store experience, a customer service experience."
But there was no denying 2019 was hard year.
"It has been extremely tough," she said.
"It will change when things come good again.
"There are lot retailers just holding out."
It was a similar story down the road at Just Irresistible.
Owner Kylie Maizey said being a genuine part of the community and building trust and friendship was a big part in survival.
"A lot of hard work on the owner's behalf," she said.
"It's the personal touch, one-on-one in-store shopping experience, it is still about that."
She also had support from the country music industry with backing from local songwriters Ashleigh Dallas and Aleyce Simmonds over the years.
"I don't know if anyone does anything better than any one else," she said.
"It is hard work and commitment, but you just have to do it because this is our livelihood."