May 13, 2020

On the Way Back. Supporting Our Local Traders

News & Insights
Many of us may still be reluctant to venture out while the risk of further clusters and outbreaks of the virus remains, but most retailers are taking serious measures to put customers at ease and to make the shopping experience as safe as possible.

Now that the first stage of COVID-19 restrictions have been eased by the Victorian Government, many of our local businesses will be reopening and looking forward to our custom. Many of us may still be reluctant to venture out while the risk of further clusters and outbreaks of the virus remains, but most retailers are taking serious measures to put customers at ease and to make the shopping experience as safe as possible. Unfortunately for cafe and restaurant owners, they were not included in this round of reopening measures but a growing number are now successfully offering coffee, food and prepared meals on a take away or delivery basis.

An established family-run business that has been in the same location in Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn since 1938, Lawrencia cycles has remained open and busy throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The proprietor, Gordon Lawrence said they had one of the busiest April’s on record as people, unable to go to the gym or to avoid public transport, take up cycling instead. Many parents’ also used their extended family time to teach their children to ride bikes. To maintain a safe environment, only 15 customers at a time are allowed inside the shop. This has led to long and, to Gordon’s delight, very patient and understanding queues along Glenferrie Rd and Liddiard St.

An Albert Park icon, Dundas & Faussett is continuing to serve coffee and meals on a takeaway basis. Owner, Sam Seoud, said they began delivering meals for the first time with Uber and Deliveroo when restaurant closures were ordered in March. Over that time he has noticed a definite increase in online orders for prepared meals to be delivered or picked up. Currently they are serving customers safely through a servery window but, once the second stage of easing is implemented, he is looking forward to re opening the restaurant and outdoor seating areas and welcoming back his regulars.

A fine dining French restaurant in Martin Street, Curly Whiskers has evolved into a fine food providore as a result of COVID-19. To amazing feedback, they are preparing many of the classic French meals that their customers loved, for dining at home. Owner, Rosalyn Vermik said, “We regularly received good reviews, but since we have been providing meals for customers to enjoy at home, we have been inundated with positive emails and phone calls. Its very gratifying!” In addition to the meals, Rosalyn has added a range of preserves, marinated vegetables and home made chocolate spreads to the menu.

A favourite coffee stop for the Marshall White Armadale team, High Society has remained open during the COVID-19 crisis for takeaway only. Once restriction ease and they are permitted to offer table service, they will remove a large number of tables for social distancing. Hand sanitisers will be available and all surfaces will be regularly disinfected. They are very much looking forward to welcoming their regular customers back into the café but in the meantime their entire menu is available to take away, for delivery with Uber or on Skip for coffee.

One of the treats many of us are missing at the moment, is a night at the movies. Yes we can watch Netflix at home, but it’s just not the same! From May 15, the Palace Cinemas in Balwyn will be offering takeaway food and drink on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. On the menu are the perennial movie night favourites such as their iconic olive oil popcorn and home-made choc tops. You can take them home to enjoy while you watch the Palace Cinema trailers of the best new upcoming movies as well as some favourite classics.

While we have been able to purchase from Rose St. Trading Co. online, the store in High Street has recently re opened. The staff are enjoying seeing their customers face to face while also practicing safe shopping. They are limiting the number of people in the store at any given time. For anyone who would rather avoid contact all together, they can select the “click & collect” option online and call from their car when they are out the front of the store and someone will deliver the goods to the car.

Founded by sisters Anna and Penny, Carnival Homewares has been sourcing textiles that effortlessly infuse into the interiors of Australian homes with style and casual chic for over two decades. Trading from their Burwood store as well as online, they have noted the particular popularity of their gorgeous Post Boxes, which have been shipped across Australia; to rural towns, nursing homes, as well as local children’s cubby-houses, as a means of sending thoughtful notes and letters to brighten days during the lockdown.

Currently open for business but within the limited hours of 10am – 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday, Eco D are allowing just 5 people including staff into the store at one time. They are encouraging customers to keep their distance from one another and have hand sanitiser at the counter for their use. While many of their regular customers have been buying online, the fitting rooms are available for people who prefer to try clothes on before they buy.

Since reopening for business, Sports Conscious has been consistently busy. The owner, Andy Stuart-Menteth, said they have never really embraced online selling, preferring to offer personal face-to-face customer service. As one of Church Street’s oldest retail businesses, they specialise in high-end outdoor clothing and footwear, a wardrobe that is now de rigueur. Andy makes sure safe social distancing policies are adhered to at all times, which does limit the number of customers at one time within the store. They also have hand sanitiser available for customer and staff use and regularly disinfect all surfaces.

During the stay at home period there has been an increase in pet ownership as many people used that time at home to welcome a new dog into their family. A supplier of all dog related necessities, Yap Wear in Albert Park has reduced their opening hours to weekends only. The number of customers in store will be monitored to adhere to social distancing protocols, and customers asked to wait outside should that be required. While all their dog food, treats and designer fashion for dogs is available online they also offer private shopping in the store by arrangement.

A hub for the coffee lovers of Hawthorn, Liar Liar has resorted to offering a takeaway menu during the lockdown. Waiting to see what the second round of softening of restrictions will mean for the café, Robin, the manager said they are not planning to provide table service unless they can welcome a number of clients. “For a café of our size, distancing tables and clientele will be difficult. We are keen to open but we will need to find out how many customers we will be allowed to service before deciding whether it is cost effective.” In the meantime they have added to their takeaway menu to provide regular customers with more variety in addition to the coffee that they love.

Read more of our Lifestyle articles below