There used to be a corner shop on - well nearly every corner (!) - in Richmond in days gone by. These were the corner (!) stone of the suburb (along with the corner pubs and drinking houses). And then along came the mighty supermarkets and slowly, slowly their numbers dwindled to a handful. The fabric of the suburb changed - and I'm not sure for the better.
|On virtually every corner there was once a shop - I rather like this simple conversion (corner Coppin & Abinger Streets) - now it's a home|
Still although many have closed there are still some hanging in and making a difference to our suburb. In fact some are thriving - just as any well run business will I guess. But they have had to move with the times.
Let's take Lennox Street (Bowen Street runs into it!). Right opposite the T of Bowen and Lennox it is farewell to the corner store that once served the community in the vicinity. And the owners lived behind the shop. Now it is in the throes of becoming - yes - more townhouses!
|The old corner store just near the Cottage - look what it is probably going to be turned into!|
But if we move further along Lennox between Bridge Road and Swan Street we come to 259 Lennox (which housed the original Jacques Reymond restaurant - see earlier post here) is - well not a corner store - but the cleanest 'corner' store I have seen. It's where you can always get bread, milk, papers and more and the owner is always behind the till.
|Mrs Spick and Span (my name for her) where the old Jacques Reymond restaurant began|
And then we turn into Rowena Parade. Now this corner store at number 44 is 'hot' and not just with the locals! Of course they have the 'usual' corner store supplies but in order to make it work they also provide a great breakfast and lunch. As the owner says "I can buy Coke cheaper at the supermarket than from Coke" (doesn't that smack of I don't know what. I often see small business owners stocking up at our local Coles with milk, soft drinks and other supplies - and then on-selling back at their business) So to succeed the corner stores have to be creative. And that includes food and enhancement of the neighbourhood and our feeling of belonging.
|Whoops - taken through the window at night - sorry! It's quirky|
|Rowena Parade store - looking towards the MCG|
Another favourite of mine is opposite the old Channel 9 studios in Bendigo Street. The studios are worth a look now that they have been converted to - guess what - apartments and townhouses. They are rather well done. But the corner store (not on the corner!) has done well - both when Channel 9 was there and since - particularly during the conversion with all the tradies - of which there were many. Now that the apartments are completed the locals love it (it's a long way to any of the Richmond supermarkets) so for the milk, eggs, papers and snacks and of course the ubiquitous coffee - it's right on their doorstep.
|The Channel Nine studios - now converted to apartments - both in the old building and new constructions|
|The Bendigo Street 'corner' store right opposite the old Channel Nine studios|
So as the Rowena Parade owner said - corner stores can succeed and prosper as long as they are creative. How lucky that there are still some around! And the last word from him "Estate agents tell me it ups the price of nearby houses by about as much as a park: around $50,000. But residents tell me it's invaluable". What a pity the one on the corner of Lennox and Bowen has gone - just think what it would have done to the sale price of Bowen Cottage!!