Lost treasure

Photo Caption: Covid’s forced Trish Boulton’s business online.

NORTH FREMANTLE’S days as a magnet for treasure hunters are over, with Covid closing the doors on the last of its once-bustling antique stores.

After gracing Queen Victoria Street for 18 years, Trish Boulton said Australia’s strict limits on overseas travel had prevented her from sourcing new stock, so she’s been force to take Trish’s Place online. Her shop is hard to miss in the town centre, a couple of doors down from Mojo’s and usually with a few thought-provoking curios out the front.

The owner and sole staff member, Ms Boulton said she was “getting out while on top”.

Ms Boulton said when she first moved in the strip was a far different place from the early morning and evening hub of cafes and restaurants it has become.

“The whole street was antiques, now I’m the last man standing.”

Ms Boulton said before the pandemic she’d travel overseas several times a year to hand pick new stock, building a rapport with dealers who’d source in-demand items. 

She’s confident a consistent clientele will stick with her during the move online, and while she hopes to have a bricks and mortar shop again in the future, it’s unlikely to be in North Fremantle.

With the reconstruction of the Fremantle Traffic Bridge and the mooted redevelopment of Fremantle Port, she fears there won’t be enough traffic coming through the town to make business viable.

Moving online puts her into the same realm that initially created chaos in the antiques world and led to the demise of many of the town’s dealerships and others around the globe.

People dabbling in the market gravitated towards websites like eBay, assuming online prices would be lower than in stores.

But Ms Boulton says that wasn’t the case and she regularly had the better deal, but the accessibility of the internet was hard to beat and stores “simply cannot compete”.

Ms Boulton said it would be sad to finally lock the doors in June after clearing out the current stock, but had a“thank you to all of our regulars and the people who have supported us throughout all the years, hopefully we will find you again when we remerge.”

In another blow to Fremantle’s east end retail, Ferrari Formalwear has relocated to Westfield Booragoon. Ferrari had suited up a generation of grooms and best men, but with the lease on its Adelaide Street shop coming to an end decided to join the exodus of many of the city’s long-term businesses.

by JESSICA HYLAND

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