I'm a freelance writer and primary school teacher living in SE Melbourne. I love finding adventures for myself, my husband and our four kids to enjoy. Come along! Heart my articles, subscribe to the fun, follow along on www.facebook.com/WNMelbourne
Published March 1st 2014
Brunel Hobbies in Cheltenham closed down recently. I was a bit sad. I shop at Kmart with the best of 'em, but there's still something about a little shop, owned by real people, where your dollars are paying for some kid's footy team fees rather than corporate giant's importing fees.
Cheltenham urban village shops
That said, we had been to Brunel Hobbies when they were still open. The guy working there, not sure if he was the owner, was sarcastic, curt, condescending, and didn't have what we were looking for: a yo-yo. Apparently yo-yoing isn't a hobby.
This brings me to a question: what makes a top shop or service in an urban shopping village? What makes you want to find a car park, risk a further walk, face the weather, and probably spend a bit more, to get into the smaller, likely locally owned and operated shops?
The City of Kingston website defines urban shopping villages as "the business and civic centres of our neighbourhoods, where a range of community activities are focused."
From the Kingston City Council website
The Cheltenham Urban Shopping Village is located around the Cheltenham Train Station, mainly along Charman and Station roads.
I began my research by asking some friends what their favourite shops were in Cheltenham.
Cheltenham Fruit Supply surfaced as a quick favourite by many of my friends, and I can put my vote in for this one personally as well; my husband stops here often between the train station and home to grab quality fruit and veggies at very competitive prices. One friend said, "Rory and Tamra are friendly and helpful"; I think knowing the people we are buying from is a key part of being loyal to the smaller shops. Of course the quality and competitive prices help too.
My son enjoying a spin at the Stanley Avenue playground, near the library.
Frank LePage Library: Aren't public libraries amazing? Truly the unsung heroes of our communities! My kids and I adore the staff and resources at this library, and stop by there weekly, often scooting over to the little playground beside it before heading home to tuck into a new-found adventure.
A couple more that surfaced were Mckenzie-Smith Butchers 312 Charman Road, 9584 7277), Ann's Flowers, and Charm & Chicken (285 Charman Rd, 8555 0158
While I had hoped to stick to the core shopping precinct, I can't help but give honourable mentions to Mel at Happy Little Tummies Cafe, and Cath at Salon Green, both over on Follet Road, for their quality service, products, and friendly owners.
What are your favourite shops in Cheltenham? What makes a top shop or service in your books? Do you feel okay frequenting the corporate giants such as Kmart, Coles, Aldi, or even Costco? Why or why not?
In D'mand, Charman Rd is a wonderfully understated little cafe. Run by two local brothers (with mum and dad in the kitchen). The boys are always really friendly and smiling, coffee is great and there is always something tasty cooked by mama! I can thoroughly recommend the bacon and mushrooms on toast (but breakfast orders before 11am).