If you are on the hunt for insanely fresh produce in a highly praised built environment, then keep one eye fixed on The Stores at West End. The Stores is a fresh food marketplace, offering high-quality food that just so happens to be housed in a spectacular, innovative and award-winning designed purpose-built building. Not a bad way to do your shopping.
The business mission of The Stores is simple: to become West End's favourite one-stop-shop for freshness and quality in meat, produce and groceries. I found The Stores in the conveniently located industrial end of Montague Road which runs parallel to the Brisbane River. A little research tells me that the General Manager of The Stores is Steve Ackerie (son of legendary hairdresser and Brisbane icon Stefan Ackerie).
The Stores Grocer seeks to bring gourmet specialities to every day from the winter warmers of enticing, crispy topped oven-baked homemade pies to fresh summer salads. There's a lot to find from the shopping list staples of lunch box ready fruit and vegetables and to the more fancy, special occasion items to share with friends or to spoil yourself with.
Small Axe Cafe
A friend joined me for coffee and a cold drink at the micro outlet for Blackstar Coffee Roasters, Small Axe Café, also located within The Stores complex. While small, this hole in the wall space is not short on attitude and we grabbed a seat in one of two outdoor areas.
We selected the covered courtyard which fronted onto Montague Road which had, despite its concrete floor and wooden Scandi floor, a very green look and feel with lots of plants which took any edge off the surrounding urban industrial landscape. I'm sure I spotted some banana trees at the entry and other well developed indoor and shading varieties.
The Award Winning Building Design
I found myself naturally and curiously looking up at the ceiling of The Stores, glancing down at the slickness of the shiny polished concrete floors and taking in the shape of the clean, white building.
Not only is The Stores housed in what feels like a modern, upmarket, re-developed warehouse but having been built in 2015, it won the Beatrice Hutton Award for Commercial Architecture in the AIA Architecture Awards and its easy to see why. In describing the design, the architects said, "The interventions were conceived as origami-like structures, folding and opening to reveal and conceal as required."
Origami is the perfect way to describe some of the angles of the building. I hardly ever photograph the bathroom of the places I visit, but for this one, I have to make an exception. Piped music and what appeared to be marble or very plush tiles was the biggest surprise in the restrooms at the top of the building.
Overall, I was impressed by the locational convenience and mixed-use of The Stores, the quality of its product and the ability even during the busiest of moments in life, to know that there is a place that will help me to bring the gourmet to my everyday.
The Stores are open 7 days. Street parking or dedicated parking spot is available at the front and rear of the building. West End is located on the edge of the Brisbane CBD.