By Meagan Kearney
When it became apparent a strip of shops in West Footscray (aka Wefo) would remain vacant for months, the West Footscray Traders Association, spearheaded by President and owner of Bharat Traders Pradeep Tiwari, decided to work towards revamping the middle section of Barkly Village.
Like many other suburban strips, Barkly Village has taken a hit in the last few years; Dosa Hut suffered a fire that caused it to close for 9 months, it was an end of an era when Vari’s Organics shut shop at the end of last year, the Night Spark Pakistani restaurant closed due to developers taking over, Western Health Collective and Dharma Circle Collective also closed.
Despite these setbacks, those familiar with ‘Wefo’ would know since design store and gallery, Post Industrial Design opened over a decade ago down the west end of the village followed by Podatpid Cafe and Rex Hairdressers, there have been many retail businesses run by passionate locals making a fabulous difference to the area.
More recently, adding to the renowned ‘Little India’ stores and restaurants of Wefo is Inner West Swedish Bakery, The Chestnut Tree Bookshop, West Footscray Wines, Gathering Threads and The Corner Studio. These have joined 540 on Barkly, Harley and Rose, Zymurgy, Chibog, Migrant Coffee Cafe and Blunt Barbers to make Wefo a truly down-to-earth, creative, foodie inner west destination.
Vacant premises were scouted with the idea of bringing a retail space to life for local makers, artists and at home businesses to gather, showcase and sell their products. With the support of the Maribyrnong City Council’s Business Improvement District grant, the former Night Spark Restaurant double-fronted premises has been leased and transformed into the Wefo Pop Shop.
Local creatives and at-home businesses were enthusiastic to be part of the collective and, with a lot of hard work and coordination from Mr Tiwari and West Footscray Traders the Pop Up Shop came together in a short space of time and opened in July. Opening hours are reliant on vendors and the community volunteering in the shop.
The Wefo Pop Up Shop has launched with an array of talented locals including Indigneous Artists Jack Forbes – Walker and Ben Moodie, Linocut Artist Sally Walshe, brands Zoe and Zara organic lip balm, Chicarto Denim and Cotton Village Clothing. Drop in for a coffee supplied by In Other Good News Grindhog Coffee.
“Apart from having the opportunity to support local small businesses and being an awesome place to shop, it is also a great little community hub where you can come chat with the locals have a cuppa and exchange laughter and all the latest goss in the area,” said Mr Tiwari.
Wefo Pop Up Shop
592 Barkly St, West Footscray
Like to become a vendor and/or volunteer at the shop – email email@example.com