In the year of the Melbourne Olympics, Richmond was a working class suburb bustling with industry and immigrants. With a dense population of 35,000 working class people who all needed to service their lives by foot, strip shops such as Bridge Rd and Swan St were central hubs. Although these strips provided general shopping, smaller localised versions peppered the suburb. One such strip was Rowena Parade. Made up of two milk bars, a green grocer, a butcher, a dry cleaner and various others stores, the Rowena strip serviced the daily needs of the local community. Today the Rowena Corner Store stands alone in representation of what used to be.
Rowena in the 50s & 60s
Rowena Corner Store established itself as the general store for the local community, providing everyday items such as food, lollies, milkshakes and toiletries. We quickly became a bustling center of activity on Richmond Hill, opening at 6.30am and closing at 10pm. The store welcomed kids on their way to school, parents seeking lunch for work, and footy crowds looking for half-time snacks and drinks.
By 2000, the Rowena Corner Store had seen better days. After almost half a century of service the old girl was in need of some serious TLC. A ground-up renovation occurred and the modern era of the store began. Whilst holding true to its milkbar roots, the new store now had a clearer focus on wholesome food, great coffee and sensational milkshakes.
With family running front of house, and Mamma in the kitchen, Rowena quickly became a favourite food destination in Melbourne.
Today Rowena stands as one of the longest running businesses is Richmond, and this year the store will be celebrating it’s 60th birthday. We’ve come a long way and seen many changes over the years, however we remain focused on the things that really matter to us: people. Delicious food, great coffee and sensational milkshakes are all there to provide an opportunity for people to connect, to share and to create magical memories together.
we turned 60!
We partied like it was 1956 this year! On November 26th we threw a footpath fiesta for our local community and staff, past and present. As one of Richmond’s longest running businesses Rowena stands proudly as a story of survival, reinvention and reinvigoration, and it was time we celebrated this stubbornness.
The festive spirit was carried through the mouth-watering smells of lamb and gyros on the spit, filling the streets of Richmond with a scent that nobody could resist. Partnering with another local Richmond business, Moondog Brewing, party-goers were the first to enjoy their brand new canned brew. The amazing Habibis brought the sweet sounds of Greece which made us get up and do the zorba in the middle of the shop.
This day was one for all to remember, something that will hopefully become a regular occurrence for the Richmond community.