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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around North Melbourne and Carlton

From pampering pet stores to specialist food and drink bookstores, these northside businesses know how to speak to niche needs.
By Emma Jukić
September 16, 2019
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Where to Shop Like a Local In and Around North Melbourne and Carlton

From pampering pet stores to specialist food and drink bookstores, these northside businesses know how to speak to niche needs.
By Emma Jukić
September 16, 2019
  shares

WHERE TO SHOP LIKE A LOCAL IN AND AROUND NORTH MELBOURNE AND CARLTON

in partnership with

From pampering pet stores to specialist food and drink bookstores, these northside businesses know how to speak to niche needs.

North Melbourne kind of has it all. It's right near the Queen Victoria Market, a short walk from the CBD, yet the wide verandas of Errol Street give it the laidback feeling of the suburbs. Nobody's in a rush here, and that's a good thing — because you need plenty of time to explore the many shops and cafes on offer. Neighbouring Carlton has more energy, home to Lygon Street's famous eateries and shops.

We've teamed up with American Express to bring you a list of some of the best local businesses the area has to offer. Plus, they will all accept your American Express Card, so make sure to pop it in your pocket before heading out the door to shop small.

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    Martin Fella Vintage

    Martin Fella Vintage is a long-standing local fashion boutique just around the corner from North Melbourne’s Errol Street shopping strip. The store is run by owner Martin Fella, who carefully selects pieces from auctions in Australia, Asia and the UK. Here you’ll find the international designer labels (Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Chanel and YSL) as well as other classy no-name vintage pieces. Fella’s passion lies in menswear and locals won’t be disappointed by the quality range in store. Women are also well-catered for — beautiful shoes and bags are often in the window. And don’t pass on the beautiful homewares and design objects; mid-century lamps, German ceramics and Japanese wares are just some of the treasures to be found.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Cooking with spices is a pleasure, and Gewürzhaus has plenty to choose from. The name of this Carlton store means ‘spice house’ in German, and the shop’s owners passion for cooking goes back four generations to their great-oma Rosa. Here you’ll find more than 350 single-origin spices, herbs, salts, peppers, teas and sugars from around the world. Gewürzhaus also mixes and mills their own small-batch blends weekly, so they’re extra fresh.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Heartland Records

    Heartland Records has been a North Melbourne local since 1992. Previously located on Peel Street,  the store’s current space on Victoria Street is larger. There’s the full spectrum of musical genres on offer, with new releases as well as back catalogue titles. The shop’s owner Paul Cook prides himself on the staff’s friendly service and passion for vinyl. One loyal visitor is reported as saying, “I started off as a customer, and ended up working here to feed my vinyl habit.” Could be you! Either way, a visit to Heartland is sure to turn up some new music discoveries and inspire your listening.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Make Designed Objects

    Pop in to browse through Make’s thoughtful collection of products of all shapes, sizes and purposes — from classic tableware, kitchen tools, homewares, clocks and lighting through to modern desk tools and computer accessories, and everything in between. The store’s focus is on good design, and while it offers products from around the world, the Make team is passionate about Australian design and showcasing local and Australian designers.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Locals take it for granted, but one of the special things about Melbourne — and Carlton in particular — is the many cosy cafes and bars open to welcome you late into the evening. That includes late-night cheese bar Milk the Cow. With some 180 cheeses on offer, its beautiful display is a sight to behold. Whether you’re browsing for something for home or you’d like to sit and enjoy a small selection with a glass of wine, this is a cosy place to stop with friends. There are also regular paired wine and cheese tasting events, for the full experience.

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    Books for Cooks

    Books for Cooks has been open in Melbourne since 1983. It’s hopped around over the years before moving to the Queen Victoria Market in 2018. The independent specialist bookstore has more than 40,000 cookery and food and wine titles in stock. The store is run by passionate cooks and lovers of good food, and the team can help you search for any hard-to-find titles. If you’ve done a Marie Kondo recently and have some old books to clear away, Books for Cooks also buys good-condition secondhand food and wine books.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Poppyshop

    Long-standing local favourite Poppyshop is the toyshop that you might remember from your childhood, if you grew up in the area. The store’s display of toys, from tiny wooden figurines right up to huge blow-up creatures, is wonderful to wander through — for adults and children alike. As they say, all ages can play. If you’re after a gift for someone small, you’re likely to find something here. As well as the toys and other objects there is a beautiful range of cards.

    Image: Parker Blain.

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    Named after Tom Waits’s sixth studio album, Heartattack and Vine has nestled into the heart of Carlton as a regular for many locals. The four founders say they were inspired by classic European neighbourhood bars and cafes that are open day and night. Following in that tradition, whether it’s a late coffee after a movie at Cinema Nova across the road, a mid-morning meeting, a weekend date with friends, or somewhere to just sit and people-watch, this is a comfortable place to go about your business. Plus, it’s open until 11pm.

    Image: Brook James.

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    Seven Seed serves up delicious coffee, breakfasts and lunches. The cafe takes its name from the seven seeds of fertile coffee, which Baba Budan smuggled out of Yemen and into India during the 17th century, opening up coffee cultivation to the rest of the world. Seven Seeds is a cafe and roastery, and the roasting equipment is beautifully displayed in the shop’s centre. It’s a favourite with students and staff of the nearby University of Melbourne, and for good reason — the coffee is good and it’s a good spot to meet people.

    Image: Cormac Hanrahan/Visit Victoria. 

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    The Paw Principality

    A few years ago, North Melbourne got its own stylish pet supply store, right in the heart of Errol Street. The store has everything from organic pet food and health and wellbeing products, to accessories, beds and grooming supplies. As well as a selection of fancy leads, harnesses and collars, there’s also a selection of pet outfits for special events, costume parties and the beach. And if you’re shopping with a thirsty dog, there’s usually a bowl of water out the front.

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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: Parker Blain.

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