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DESIGN & STYLE

Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Melbourne CBD

Some of the best small businesses in the city can be found in the CBD's laneways, alleys and arcades.
By Hudson Brown
September 16, 2019
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Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around Melbourne CBD

Some of the best small businesses in the city can be found in the CBD's laneways, alleys and arcades.
By Hudson Brown
September 16, 2019
  shares

WHERE TO SHOP LIKE A LOCAL IN AND AROUND MELBOURNE CBD

in partnership with

Some of the best small businesses in the city can be found in the CBD's laneways, alleys and arcades.

Melbourne CBD might be chock-full of skyscrapers and international powerhouses, but what really keeps the city buzzing is the plethora of small and independent businesses that are hidden away in the alleyways and backstreets. From the labyrinth of Flinders Lane to the Paris end of town, Melbourne CBD features a wealth of incredible stores that are well worth celebrating.

That's why we've teamed up with American Express Shop Small to create a list of the local CBD businesses that are the the lifeblood of the city. So love where you live and support those that make our communities great. These ten local businesses represent the best of what Melbourne has to offer — and they'll all accept your American Express Card.

  • 10

    Having celebrated its 50th birthday earlier this year, The Paperback Bookshop is undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s most established shops for passionate bookworms. While the business was initially founded on the principle of importing hard-to-find paperbacks from the US during the 1960s, the store has since expanded to include hardbacks across the entire spectrum of genres. Meanwhile, The Paperback Bookshop still maintains its reputation as being something of a specialist when it comes to hunting down backlist books and other rarities. Once you’ve finished exploring the overflowing store, head across the alleyway and turn a few pages alongside a coffee from The Paperback’s long-standing neighbour, Pellegrini’s.

    Image: Visit Victoria.

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  • 9

    Founded by Nicholas Minton-Connell, Pollon Flowers has long been one of Melbourne’s headline florists. Having gotten his start designing displays for David Jones and Dior throughout the 90s, before launching his business in Sydney and expanding to Melbourne, Minton-Connell’s work has been celebrated for its originality and artistry. Situated at Chapter House, striking floral arrangements flow out onto Flinders Lane, adding a touch of colour to the busy thoroughfare. Whether you’re planning a wedding, a corporate event or just picking up a bouquet to brighten up your home, Pollon Flowers will have you covered.

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee.

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  • 8

    Tucked away inside the Royal Arcade, which is widely recognised as Australia’s oldest arcade, Ziggurat’s eccentric range of handbags, wallets, pouches and so-called ‘lovely things’ don’t look out of place next to the wonderful light-filled corridor outside. The store’s huge range of products are perfect for adding an accessory to any outfit, while still maintaining a functional design. Whether you prefer a minimalist aesthetic or a pattern that pops, Ziggurat will surely have the bag for you. Inside, you will also find host of luminous umbrellas and comfortable pillowcases so you can surround yourself with wonderfully crafted products all the time.

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee.

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  • 7

    Located on the third floor of Curtin House, just above The Toff in Town but a few levels below Rooftop Bar, Metropolis Bookshop is in good company when it comes to iconic Melbourne venues. Climb the stairs or ride the infamously creaky lift to discover a remarkable wealth of books across art, architecture, design, photography and more. Metropolis Bookshop is without a doubt one of those stores where hours can pass without you realising it, because each shelf offers something new and fascinating to explore. From paperbacks to huge photography books that you can’t help but want to find a spot on your coffee table for, when you’re in need of some creative inspiration you can’t look past Metropolis Bookshop.

    Image: Visit Victoria.

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  • 6

    If you’re looking to stand out this season, picking up the newest addition to your wardrobe at Obus, which stocks distinctly bold colours and prints, will definitely get the job done. You can feel good about wearing Obus, as the brand has strived to produce its clothing ethically and sustainably since its beginning more than 20 years ago. Currently, 80 percent of the brand’s range is manufactured in Australia, with offcuts an important step in the brand’s manufacturing process. Plus, leftover fabrics are donated to community organisations. Located in the Cathedral Arcade off Swanston Street, head in-store and grab some chic Melbourne-made fashion.

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee.

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  • 5

    Describing itself as a candy store but for herbs and spices, Gewürzhaus presents visitors with 350 single-origin spices, herbs, salts, peppers, teas and sugars imported from around the world. Located inside the CBD’s Block Arcade, the shop also stocks more than 100 small-batch blends that are mixed and milled in-store on a weekly basis. From premium quality thyme to sage and tarragon, send your tastebuds into overdrive as your cooking will assuredly be taken to whole new levels following your visit.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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  • 4

    Melbourne’s extraordinary artists offer up no shortage of weird and wonderful designs, and you won’t find a better collection of them than at Melbournalia. With all the designers featured throughout the shop based in Melbourne, you’ll be happy to know that the vast majority of items in stock are also produced locally as well. Showcasing wintery goods such as scarves and beanies or funky Melbourne-inspired homewares, Melbournalia almost certainly has something that’ll catch your attention. Situated at the top end of town on Bourke Street, Melbournalia is a must-visit for lovers of knick-knacks and souvenirs.

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  • 3

    Founded in Melbourne, Lucy Folk’s jewellery has become some of the most sought after in the city, as her brand’s blissful line-up of designs is now stocked in boutiques around the globe. Folk draws inspiration for her work from a variety of avenues in her life, although food and travel are two of the clearest. The artist has created jewellery showcasing rose gold watermelons and silver parsley earrings, while visits to Morocco and several parts of Europe are also a constant influence on her work. The Melbourne CBD flagship store is where you’ll find Folk’s entire range of jewellery, sunglasses, and accessories.

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  • 2
    L'uccello

    Make your way to the second floor of Melbourne’s Nicholas Building and you’ll come across an independent store that’s simply bursting with colour. That’d be long-term haberdashery L’uccello, which specialises in vintage and new craft supplies. Spend some time hunting around the colourful shop and you’ll uncover fine fabrics by Liberty and Moda, embroidery products from Valdani and Sajou, and an assortment of pure wool felt, millinery, ribbons, buttons and other exquisite accessories. Add some fancy goods to your life and dig into the assortment of fine wares at L’uccello.

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  • 1
    Top3 by Design Emporium Melbourne

    In what can only be described as an odd turn of events, when Top3 founder Terri Winter saw a German cabaret show featuring the top three acts in their field — a woman, a walrus and a trapeze artist — it inspired her to translate the experience to the retail world. And as it turned out, it was a huge success. Stocking well over 1000 different products, but only three of each type, the business is based on offering customers the best products based entirely on their design merits. Spanning homewares, kitchen, clothing and travel, there’s little doubt you’ll find something unique once you explore inside.

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Love where you live and shop small to support the local stores that make Melbourne so great. To learn about American Express and the Shop Small initiative, visit here. Then, head this way to find more must-visit spots around the inner city.

Top image: Ray Reyes/Visit Victoria.

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