Space People,

Last night we read an article via the ABC within which the NAB reported Australia’s retail sector is “clearly in recession”. And whilst we admit our shopping habits are changing, our experience at Spacemarket shows that small business retail is pretty darn buoyant. As a reminder, retail is not just chain-store, clothes on a rack —pushbikes, hats, plants, tools, camping equipment, cars, surfboards, ceramics, jewellery, groceries, fresh bread from the baker, paintings off the gallery wall, or specialist shops selling ant farms or strange knitted meat products are all forms of retail, and all things our communities are getting off their butts to go and experience.

In our conversations around vacant spaces, something we hear regularly is that a move to online shopping is to blame for empty shopfronts. And while online shopping is certainly having an impact on our shopping patterns, especially in the fashion and beauty sector, Australia Post reports that online shopping accounted for just a 9% share of retail spend in 2018. Numbers from this report show Australians spent (a staggering) $275.3 billion on retail purchases, with $27 billion of that allocated to eCommerce spending—showing that in-store purchases still account for over 90% of spending within the retail sector. 

Further to this, Spacemarket are finding that it also goes the other way, with online-based stores looking for pop-up opportunities to increase brand awareness and provide a customer experience for their product. Truth is there’s still a demand for the personal, tactile experience that only an in-store visit can provide.

Also, it’s not that small business retail doesn’t exist anymore, it’s just that you generally can’t see it on our high streets or in the big shopping malls. Instead, small business retail has had to find more interesting (and cheaper) places to exist now—visit your local farmers market, head out to Maylands, Vic Park, or South Freo and you’ll find a whole heap of diverse, small business speciality shops.

To us retail isn’t dead, or even close to dying—though the increasing number of vacant shops are not helping anyone’s confidence. We will say this on repeat for eternity - but - when you fill empty shops up with exciting small businesses, you draw shoppers away from the generic big box shopping centres, pry them from their keyboards and entice them back to peering into windows, walking through doors, and experiencing retail again. This in turn means increased footfall, swelling business confidence, increased pride in place, boosted economy, more connected communities... the benefits go on and on. 

Small business need our support to create an environment where they can exist in our centres where they belong. This begins with being able to afford to be there—which in the current climate, rent compared to market reality is making that hard.

Online is not making as much of an impact on retail as we are. So let’s work together to help boost it up again. 

Enough from us, see you next week

SM x

Farmers markets around Australia are generally choccas, while also providing a really nice interaction with makers, growers and the local community


Hiroshi Kobayashi 'The outside within \ the inside without', Fri 14 Jun, 6pm-8pm

“Hiroshi Kobayashi's artwork explores the space between photography, painting and memory. His paintings, based on digitally manipulated photographs, are created by using mechanical devices, such as a dispenser machine, cutting plotter, spray gun and self-made squeegee tool. Kobayashi’s unique process, which he refers to as patagraphy, aims to capture the way that our minds consider and remember experiences of place. A term coined by Kobayashi, patagraphy combines the concept of Pataphysics, the imaginary realm supplemental to metaphysics conceived by French poet Alfred Jarry, and –graph, or an instrument for recording.”

Heathcote Cultural Precinct, 58-60 Duncraig Road, Applecross


Methyl Ethel, Sat 15 Jun, 7pm-11:30pm

Perth band Methyl Ethel launch their incred new album Triage this Saturday night at the Astor. Go fill your soul up with some psyche-pop, and maybe even patron some Beaufort Street establishments with some drinks and dinner beforehand. Winning.

Astor Theatre, 659 Beaufort Street, Mount Lawley


We’ll use this section to share some tidbits we’ve come across the last week from you, our tenants, and the www.

+ How to Turn Neglected Alleyways into Thriving Public Spaces via Strong Towns

“Paul Fast—Principal Architect at HCMA, a Canadian architecture and design firm—discusses its More Awesome Now project and how you can revive neglected alleyways in your own neighborhood, including how to assess the needs of the neighborhood, how to measure the success of the project, and how to consider all members of the community in its design.”

+ Not all older people are lonely. This hidden factor is often overlooked via the ABC

(Many older private renters are lonely, while social housing tenants feel less isolated)

Many older private renters have little disposal income, because the cost of housing uses up much of their income. They also live with the constant possibility that they may be asked to vacate their accommodation.Their limited budgets mean they often end up living in a poorly located property. These features, individually or in combination, create fertile ground for anxiety and loneliness. Their dire financial situation is often an obstacle to social activities. One interviewee told of how she had to choose between food or breaking her isolation by using public transport.

+ 'It’s a miracle': Helsinki's radical solution to homelessness via The Guardian

“No model is perfect; we still have failures. But I’m proud we had the courage to try it. The mayor agrees. “We have reduced long-term homelessness by a remarkable amount,” he says. “We must do more – better support, better prevention, better dialogue with residents: people really support this policy, but not everyone wants a unit in their neighbourhood … But yes, we can be very proud.”

+ Senior Staff: Tokyo’s Oldest Workers via the Guardian

“These bartenders, sushi chefs and sweetshop owners are still working in their 80s and 90s, running family businesses and maintaining traditional crafts as the city changes around them.” We loved seeing how many tiny shops were still run by older people in Japan, Tthe number of employed people age 65 and older in Japan recently hit a record 8.07 million. They now comprise roughly 12% of Japan’s workforce.

“Another coffee shop owner in her late 80s. Her cafe in Ogikubo opens most days. It’s on two floors, and she runs it alone, meaning she is up and down the steep stairs all day long.”


LIV, Fremantle

We have had one new tenancy become available at our newest Queen Victoria Street activation in Fremantle. This brand new, blank space is a 99m2 commercial tenancy on a main artery into Fremantle near cafes, FAC and the Freo pool.

Heathcote, Applecross

We have two spaces currently available at Heathcote. One 20sqm private office and 55sqm room in a heritage-listed building with all mod cons, stunning, riverside location, free parking-situated within the Heathcote Cultural Precinct and gallery site.

MANY North Freo
We have two spaces available in our MANY North Freo warehouse (one 55sqm & one 35sqm). Rent includes three-phase power, rubbish collection, and water, AND you get to work amongst a super bunch of other local makers. Other benefits include high ceilings, great access and, a short walk over Leighton footbridge; you’re at the beach!

Plus, we’ve also had someone get in touch about a stunning 400sqm heritage-listed building near Fremantle. Freshly painted, brilliant location, kitchenette, gorgeous natural light, public transport nearby. If you’re looking for something of this size or style let me know at

**DON’T FORGET — we still have some new Freo spaces coming up soon! Please register your interest so we can keep you in the loop.

Email for more info.

Head over to our website for more info at

We’d always love to hear from you about any and all of the interesting things you’ve got going on.

Please send us an email at to let us know what’s up.