The evolution of Hindmarsh Square’s north-eastern corner continues with the arrival of new vintage store Room on Fire. The petite shop opened earlier this month in the former store room of now-shuttered Deli on Pulteney, between Loc and soon-to-open Dunfor Noodle Bar. It’s the latest addition to the changing precinct, following the opening of Fire x Soi 38, the expansion of Clarity Records and Loc's new daytime hours.
“I’ve always wanted to be on this block,” says Stephanie Dimasi, who owns and runs the store with her partner (in life and business) Reuben Lane.
“We love the idea of our customers having a shop, having a wine, eating dinner, buying records, that’s a cool little flow. One of my friends was saying, ‘you’re at the end of the mall and it’s super accessible to get here but it feels like a village’. And that’s so what we wanted to be a part of, this little community that we’re in, so we’re super stoked.”
Room on Fire launched two years ago as an online store. The couple, who met while working at General Pants Co, both share a love of vintage clothes and music (the store is named after The Strokes’ second album, and there are band tees and framed band posters on the walls).
“We always had dreams of having a store but we weren’t quite sure when or how that was going to happen,” says Dimasi. “But we were really fortunate that over Covid business actually grew a significant amount because people could wear this stuff,” she says, acknowledging the growing interest in comfy leisurewear that seemed to skyrocket with the rise in WFH life. “We were really stoked and lucky.”
The store’s number of Instagram followers is now at 22.8K. But the pair still see the value in nurturing the community that comes with a bricks-and-mortar shop. Even despite, or perhaps because of, the closure of several CBD boutiques in 2020.
“A lot of people are going the opposite way,” acknowledges Dimasi. “And we get that – there’s obviously a big risk. But there’s this level of being able to provide the service that you just don’t get online that we so want and need and feed off.
“We just like talking to people,” adds Lane. (In the time Broadsheet spends at the store, he’s treated every customer who’s walked through the door like an old friend.)
“And there’s a little gap in the [Adelaide] market for this kind of stuff,” Dimasi continues. “There’s so many stores that do vintage well, but everyone brings something a little different to the table.
“We definitely have a more athletic focus. It’s tees, jumpers, jackets. It’s street style. We’ve just started bringing in Carhartt stuff now.”
Everything in the store is available online and vice versa (the pair plan to grow the online shop soon). The colour-coordinated racks are filled with an assortment of spray jackets, oversized jumpers, band tees, vintage jeans, caps and more. Prices start at $40 (for tees) and go up to $150 (for Carhartt jackets, for example).
“We buy premium brands like Polo [Ralph Lauren] and Tommy [Hilfiger] and Guess,” says Lane. “And then the athletic styles like Nike and Adidas, a lot of Champion … American pro sports [merch] so NFL, NBA, baseball, ice hockey, a lot of collegiate gear ‘cause college sports are so big and they just pumped that product out in the '90s … then the novelty side of things like cartoon jumpers and tees.”
Lane and Dimasi are particularly excited about some of the kitsch, rare items in-store. “I love stuff like that,” says Lane. “I like the idea of finding something you’re never going to find anywhere else.”