by JENNY D’ANGER
SISTERS are doing it not just for themselves, but also for the Wray Avenue community, with the setting up of a Wray Avenue Collective.
Increasingly the avenue has become a thriving hive of boutique shops—and it’s mostly a feminine hand steering the ship (Bruce Abbott from Replants is a notable exception).
“Most of the businesses are [run by] women,” Pekho owner Buffy Murray says.
Her business is booming, so much so she recently expanded.
The businesswomen on Wray Ave support each other, forming friendships, she says.
“The energy of women is quite different…a bit more nurturing.”
“[We] are part of a very tight-knit community,” Wild Poppy co-owner Robyn Shapiro agrees.
Rather than more shops and cafes being viewed as competition they are welcomed because they bring in more people.
“It is happening, we are getting busier and busier…I say bring it on,” Ms Shapiro says.
Increasingly Freo folk are avoiding the parking-deprived cappuccino strip in favour of smaller local hubs, where creative shops offer goods you don’t see elsewhere and the cafes aren’t clones. The quirky eclecticism is something the Collective is keen to nurture and promote.
Covering Wray Ave and a small section of South Terrace, it hopes to build on an existing “village vibe” to create an even more vibrant area with old-fashioned local appeal.
“As a destination, rather than somewhere to drive through,” Ms Shapiro says.
“We feel Wray is how Fremantle used to be.”
Early talks with council staff have been fruitful with offers of support, and possibly cash for advertising, Ms Murray says.
Gourmet on Wray owner Therese Pitman is keen to see a crosswalk on the busy street and for Wray Ave to become a dual purpose road, for vehicles–and pedestrians. “We’re also talking about a street festival.”