Mel and Fabian Muller are recalling the community-minded Ma and Pa grocery shops of years gone by as they open their organic produce and health outlet, The Simple Market, today.
The Simple Market brings back the corner store
There is a clear time distinction evident on the walls of 44 Henley Beach Road.
From the outside, though its parapet differs slightly from that of its neighbours, it looks to be a consistently drawn 1950s shop face.
The Simple Market can be found at 44 Henley Beach Road, Mile End and will open for its first day of trade this Thursday, July 6.
Enter through the front door, though, and the dividing wall at the back of the space looks very much like the façade of a much earlier building.
It was quirks like these that sold Mel and Fabian Muller on the shop.
“The building now has water, before it never had any water and it was quite a weird space… but we loved it,” Fabian says.
“It’s a lot of work to redo an old building, but I think it’s important because there’s so many nice buildings in Adelaide, it’s a bit of a waste if you’re doing a new build.”
Most recently the building existed as a bridal store – but what Fabian and Mel are bringing into the space, and the local community, is The Simple Market – a health food and organic fruit and vegetable store.
“We’re going for [the brands] that you can’t find in every health food shop. I’m studying naturopathy at the moment, so I’ll be in charge of that,” Mel laughs.
“This is your fun space where all the veggies are, it’s beautiful and colourful, it’s near our counter, and then we’ve got just the vitamins and supplements, and then you come through here and it’s the body and beauty room.
“So on these shelves we’re going to have these bulk body lotions and shampoo and conditioner, so you can fill your own container, and then on the other side laundry detergent [and] home cleaning things.”
“The aim is to go to that low-waste, or zero-waste lifestyle, which is what we try and do, but it’s hard, we haven’t been able to find it too much at the moment,” adds Fabian.
While digging for information on the building’s history, the couple realised their concept was more of a throwback than they’d realised.
“How amazing’s this? So for 17 and a half years, it used to be a fruit and veg shop, a greengrocer… Apparently it used to have this whole community here, a butcher, baker, sort of everything,” Fabian says.
Similarly, community is at the heart of Fabian and Mel’s store, with plans for The Simple Market to eventually transition into a co-op-style business, once the brand is established.
“We’re going to do things like movie nights for different documentaries, we’ll teach people how to make sauerkraut or kombucha,” Fabian says.
“We want it to be more than just you go in and go out, it’s really about having a strong community here.
“Coming into this whole space here, this health food area, we think there’s a massive opportunity for Adelaide when it comes to people making their own different types of products, and… people are quite entrepreneurial.”
“We want to be able to help them as well,” Mel continues.
“We have a bit of experience in that. We were brand managers, we worked in marketing and sales, so we’d like to help them in their brand so they can get it out to us, but also to other stores.”
It’s a return to a former life for the building, and for Thebarton locals it’s the return of the friendly neighbourhood greengrocer.