LIZ POULTON has Nordic heritage, so she decided to name her South Fremantle bookshop, Saga, which is Icelandic for story.
The cute cut-outs blazoned across the huge windows depict scenes from her grandparents’ farm north of Reykjavik, and she proudly boasts that “Iceland has the highest per capita of authors.”
With a long career in bookshops, including the Chart and Map Shop, Poulton reckoned the South Freo end of South Terrace needed more variety.
“It’s important we have a book shop down here…not just cafes and bars.”
She also wanted a shop that acted as a community hub, and in just six months Saga has become home to three book clubs, held a Christmas street market with carol-singing kids, run children’s art classes, and has become an exhibition space for local artists, with no commission taken.
There are regular evenings celebrating authors, such as James Joyce, and the recent Robbie Burns night, “With the piping in of the haggis,” Poulton says.
And if that wasn’t enough, a group of youngsters recently dropped in to work on a large model of Nelson’s ship, HMS Victory.
An assortment of comfy chairs allow customers to relax with a book or two: “People often fall asleep,” Poulton says.
The shop has plenty of space for wheelchairs to manoeuvre and a disabled toilet.
And you can even take your dog into the shop.
Along with books there’s a heap of unusual gifts, sourced by Poulton’s sister in the UK, who is always well ahead of what’s trending.
“A lot of this stuff will hit the Australian market next Christmas,” Poulton says.
“We don’t bring in much and once it’s sold that’s it.”
Having heard of local Lisa Hills’ campaign to ban balloons—they can wind up in drains and then the ocean, killing marine life—Poulton decided to sell paper balloons, which are a colourful, reusable alternative.
“They have turned out to be great and I’m looking for a supplier to make larger ones.”
Saga Book Shop
203 South Terrace,
open six days 10am to 5pm,