ometimes you just happen to be in the right place at the right time. Nikki Moore, together with her partner Per Nilsson, had been collecting records for years until she thought it was about time she did something with them.
It was around this time that the owner of The Union Club Hotel, where Moore works as a bartender, showed the pair the empty space upstairs from the pub. “Working down here this all time, I had no idea of what was up there,” Moore laughs.
Moore and Nilsson shared the find with their friends Jessica Taylor and Lucy Pyle – two clothing aficionados who had always wanted to open their own store – and another acquaintance, Penny Pappas. Once the team realised the potential of the unused space, the idea for The Union Club Shops came to life.
A collaborative project undertaken in the name of fun and friendship, The Union Club Shops is a friendly mini-market of assorted goods, clothing, vintage pieces and records.
After a little collective work and some allocating of space, The Union Club Shops opened with little fanfare last Christmas. Taylor and Pyle’s small stall, Le Coconut, along with Penni From The Block (run by Pappas), are gold mines for reasonably priced vintage garments and accessories.
Right next door, Moore and Nilsson’s Clubhouse Records caters for the needs of any kind of muso. Moore is mute about their source of supply, but you can expect to find a broad range of near to mint condition vinyls.
“We created a space where you can shop, buy some records, have a beer and hang out,” Taylor of Le Coconut says. “Something a little bit different that we don’t really do to make a living, but more because we love doing it.”
During other times, the community space functions as a free gallery for local artists, with exhibitions and other events running each month.
Opened four days a week, the shops have been doing well so far, with an audience mostly drawn from word-of-mouth and social media. And more is to come with three extra rooms available. “It is going to be like a mini bazaar,” rejoices Taylor. A shop to rent anyone?
The Union Club Shops
164 Gore Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9417 2926
Wed to Sun noon–8pm