Over the last 15 years, Jacqueline Foti-Lowe has been collecting beautiful objects discovered on her travels. Simple, everyday items, such as pencil sharpeners, can openers, tape dispensers, sponges, towels, and day-to-day tools that are perfect for their function. ‘I always knew that at some point I’d give all those treasures and findings a voice, but I had no idea how I’d execute it’ the seasoned retailer explains.
Finally, these treasured discoveries now have a home – at The Hub General Store in Collingwood. This unique retail offering has been inspired by 15 years of travelling and collecting, as well as Jacqueline’s own family home at Kangaroo Ground, where visits to the local general store to pick up utilitarian supplies is a daily ritual.
‘I’ve always loved rummaging through flea markets and collecting things, including furniture, knowing again that at some point they would come in handy’ the creative retailer explains. The idea of creating a dedicated retail space for these ever-growing collections became a serious consideration for Jacqueline last year. Moving beyond just a pastime, a business proposition started to formulate.
After scouring more traditional storefront rental opportunities, late one night, Jacqueline found exactly what she was looking for. A small, bluestone building just a short walk from the Collingwood’s busy Smith st was her discovery. Completely closed up and in disrepair, this characterful little building immediately struck a chord. ‘It was unorthodox, difficult, challenging and tucked away’ she recalls… ‘But it had a quirkiness and joy hidden underneath that resonated with me. It was like hearing the perfect song.’
Whilst it does have what Jacqueline describes at the ‘Hub DNA’, the new store is entirely different from Hub Furniture. After all, The Hub General Store is exactly that – a general store. Set over three distinct rooms, the place has a distinctly home-like feel – complete with AGA stove and functional kitchen area, where tea and scones with jam and cream are served!
‘The common thread between Hub Furniture and The Hub General Store is the quality, originality and authenticity’ Jacqueline explains. ‘But the generals store is more about the everyday’. The other thing that’s completely different is pricing! ‘The Hub General Store starts at $1, and there’s not much you can buy at Hub Furniture for $1!’ Jacqueline admits. Instead, this new store strives to have something for everyone – from a jar of honey, to a pencil or a small personal item, no one leaves empty handed!
In addition to its retail offerings, the front room of Hub’s general store will play host to an ongoing calendar of events and exhibitions. The first of these (on now), is an installation showcasing the work of revered British designer Faye Toogood.
The Hub General Store
36 Cambridge Street
Open daily 10am – 7pm