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:
Business Activity Centres
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.
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:
- Rania delivered a keynote presentation at the metropolitan and regional 2022 Mainstreet Australia Conference on how to establish a main street marketing and business development fund, also known as Special Rates (a statutory process). This is an option that unfunded incorporated business associations in main streets, shopping precincts and town centres can explore.
- Yellow Round Table is listed as a consultant on the Mainstreet Australia Supplier Directory. Mainstreet Australia the peak industry body advocating for local shopping precincts.
- Explore the Yellow Round Table website to learn about services, experiences, and how our team can support your business association.
- Follow Yellow Round Table on Instagram.
- Connect with Rania Fayad on LinkedIn.
- Schedule a free 15 minute Clarity Call to discuss your specific needs and goals.