The person writing this is Aron Lewin.

I’ve been writing about longstanding shops across Melbourne for the best part of two years now.

People tend to ask how I started, and there’s not a particularly good story. A butcher on Glenhuntly Rd had a chalkboard with  ‘RIP BEN HOWE BUTCHERS – 1960-2017′ written on it. I wanted to learn a bit more about this butcher shop that I had never entered, and had a chat with Ben Howe, who was more than accomodating.

The story was enjoyed (so I’m told) by friends and family so, over the next few weeks, I interviewed the local barber, bookstore and other places that I was reasonably familiar with. I received suggestions for longstanding shops that are outside of Caulfield, and have inched my way across parts of Melbourne in the hope that people will have a chat with me. I’m still inching so, please, send suggestions for shops in different areas!

After a while, I decided to shamefully self-promote. Tales of Brick and Mortar stories have subsequently featured in The Glen Eira Leader, Urban List, Commercial Real Estate and The Age. After an interview on RRR 102.7FM, I received an email from Tatiana CC Scott, an excellent photographer, and I have been working with her on subsequent stories.

The point of this project is ever-evolving. Where I’m presently at is that these shops are an integral part of local communities, and relationships are developed that go beyond transactions.

The chat I have with Hassan from Divine Deli is more important than the coffee I might buy. I care about what he’s up to and, hopefully, vice-versa. We don’t tend to know much about the stories behind these small businesses but – once they close – the opportunity to find out more potentially disappears.

Hopefully, Tales of Brick and Mortar adds something to the way that we value these shops, and inspires a few conversations that go beyond a transaction.

Anyway, please send story suggestions, feedback, opportunities and anything else to talesofbrickandmortar@gmail.com