Gallery wall found in laneways in Melbourne main streets and shopping precincts.

September 1, 2023

Why Main Streets are Community Hubs with Hidden Value

Main Streets

In Australia, the term “main street” might not be as commonly used as in other parts of the world.

A main street typically serves as the primary retail hub in various communities including:

  1. Business Precincts

  2. Town Centres

  3. Business Activity Centres

  4. Shopping Precincts

  5. Shopping Precincts

  6. Shopping Villages

You might refer to your local main street by various names, such as “the shops,” “the local,” or even as if they were a friend, like “… just heading to see [insert name of friendly business owner here] to grab X, Y Z.”

The Heart of our Communities

I like to think of main streets as social, cultural and vibrant grassroots meeting places in our neighbourhoods. They come in various forms and are filled with a diverse range independently and mostly family owned and operated shops and retailers, offering an array of goods and services such as:

Grocery shops, banks, medical clinics, veterinary clinics, cafes, beauty salons. accountants, butchers, pubs, bakeries, physiotherapists, pharmacies, restaurants, art galleries, op shops, live music venues, retailers, mechanics, hardware stores, industrial businesses, real estate agencies, service based professionals, bookshops, homeware shops, major retailers and more!

From an economic perspective, main streets offer a vast range of employment opportunities, market local businesses, boost local economies and investment, increase tourism visitation and play an active role in our everyday lives.

As you can see, a main street is so much more than we think.

They are places where great memories and moments have taken place in our local community, and often set the scene for a great story.

Personal Connection

My connection to Melbourne’s North, encompassing areas like Reservoir, Preston, Brunswick, Coburg, Carlton and Northcote, has given me a unique perspective on the often overlooked value of main streets as vibrant community hubs.

This connection is deeply rooted in my Lebanese heritage, which has profoundly shaped my understanding of the significance of community spaces, particularly main streets. My father, whom we affectionately call ‘Baba,’ was a trailblazer in our family, venturing into Australia in search of new opportunities.

Baba’s journey began in a modest way, working at a well known dessert shop where he had the honour of serving an Australian Ambassador in Lebanon. This experience ignited his entrepreneurial spirit and inspired him to pursue a new life in Australia, a journey that led him to a bustling main street – Lygon Street in Carlton.

It was on this lively main street that Bab truly realised the untapped potential of such community centres. Through his unwavering work ethic and dedication, he not only built a thriving business but also transformed our lives. His journey is a testament to the hidden value that main streets bring to their communities.

By reuniting our family and bringing them from Lebanon to Melbourne, Baba’s success highlights the profound impact of main streets as more than just business districts or shopping precincts. They are heartwarming, diverse and invaluable community spaces. These streets are where stories like our, filled with determination, perseverance and achievement, come to life.

As we celebrate the unique and vibrant main streets in our communities, we acknowledge that many other families have similar stories to share. It’s these shared experiences that further underscore the vital role of main streets as hidden gems, uniting and enriching our neighbourhoods.

Join the Movement

If you operate a commercial business in Victoria and are interested in establishing your own incorporated business association or starting/renewing Special Rate funding in your shopping precinct, please get in touch with Rania Fayad, from Yellow Round Table to discuss.

To learn more about Rania and Yellow Round Table, consider the following resources:






Where to next?

Yellow Round Table specialises in helping traders associations  find the joy in building, growing and scaling volunteer talent.