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December 13, 2016

Small Business Survey: Top Shop

A city’s shopfronts are its first impression – the most immediate measure of how engaging it’s going to be, so we’re celebrating the people who do independent retail right.

  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Brendan Homan


More than meat at Marino’s
52 Gouger Street, Adelaide

At age 29, Riccardo Marino is a relatively young operator. Marino Meat and Food Store, however, has been established as a Central Market staple since 1975.

Having grown up in the store, Riccardo knows what Market regulars want from their continental butcher, but since taking the reins in 2013, he’s been looking to reinvigorate the family business.


“In 2011, the store was run down, the stock was just all over the place, nothing made sense on the shelves. It was just an accumulation of products we’d been buying for the last 20 years… without a drive to see what people actually want,” Riccardo says.

“The Italian continental deli that [Marino] was 30 years ago – all of those products are found in supermarkets now. So people that used to buy that stuff 30 years ago don’t buy that stuff anymore.”

With the wholesale side of the business also picking up, Riccardo is making the most of his growing relationship with local chefs, staying on top of trends and passing tips onto his retail customers.

“I work closely with chefs and retail customers, and we’ve got whole hanging carcasses here. Because we still break down our own animals, we can cater to pretty much whatever anybody wants,” Riccardo says.


“There was a guy in the Market working here at Say Cheese, and he wanted to do a food truck… He built a pit in his backyard out of Besser blocks, and him and his mate would sit all night cooking these briskets and pork shoulders.

“Then he’d come back and tell us that this didn’t quite work, so we’d trim it differently for him, leave more fat, take more fat off, leave certain bones in, out.

“We refined it to get it to a point now where they’re happy, and we just refer that to customers now.”

The attention to detail and eye for quality extends beyond the meat display, with his retail stock lines being chosen through a similar process of trial, error, and conversations with Adelaide kitchens.

There are Mexican condiments, Spanish delicacies, quality pasta, an entire confit suckling pig contained in a can (for whoever should be so inclined), as well as an Italian deli classic – Proraso shaving cream. All that really matters to Riccardo is that you’d be hard pressed to find any of these items anywhere else.

“Yeah, you can get pasta anywhere, but I’ve always got brands that are of higher quality, and the customer, we’ll educate them on why they’re buying that pasta from me,” he says.

“They’re coming to me for good meat, they’re coming to me for good smallgoods, why should they buy cheap pasta?”

With refurbishment plans, pop-up markets, and long-term visions of a Harrods-inspired eatery expansion, if Marino isn’t already your go-to butcher, we’re pretty sure it will be soon.


Twenty Fifty Two
83B Hindley Street, Adelaide


It’s immediately apparent upon entering Twenty Fifty Two that a lot of thought has gone into creating the right kind of atmosphere.

According to storeowner Al Mawer, it was about building a space that didn’t overshadow the brands he’d chosen to stock, all of which have an idiosyncratic style and story of their own.

“We sell some really nice things… brands that are only in 10 stores in the world, but in saying that, those brands came from skateboarding and art and those kinds of subcultures, so we wanted to present that,” Al says.

It’s minimal, but everything is in its right place, and that goes for the sense of community found in the store too.


Haigh’s Chocolates
Rundle Mall, Adelaide


If chocolate alone isn’t enough to lure you into Haigh’s flagship Beehive Corner store, perhaps the curatorial approach of the sales staff will help.

More trusted advisor than sales representative, the founts of chocolatey knowledge standing behind the counter are more than happy to help you choose your Friday afternoon knock-off block, or point you to the gift box that’ll make you seem like the considerate person you hope to actually be one day.

All this and they’ll give you free samples if you ask nicely.


19 Morphett Street, Adelaide


If you’re in the market for good design, it’s nice to buy it from a place that reflects that ideal through its own interior.

The beautifully aligned shelving at the JamFactory shop does just that, and also supports items that range from functional crockery, jewellery, furniture, to purely artful objects.

If you want to learn more about the murrine triangle or the assortment of glass-blown vases you just bought, the staff are more than willing to help you stockpile facts for when your friends inevitably enquire about the aesthetic idol adorning the sideboard in your living room.


1/257 Rundle St, Adelaide


The best way to approach Bauhaus is with no expectations.

Not because the store can’t provide you with what you’re looking for, but because within five minutes of browsing, you’ll have committed to at least a dozen completely different items.

Much to the staff’s credit, decisions aren’t made any easier by knowing exactly why each item in the store is worth handing over your hard-earned dollars for, and they were gracious enough to tour CityMag through their range, presenting a real struggle to leave empty handed.

Honourable Mentions:


Imprints  – 107 Hindley Street, Adelaide


Leigh Street Luggage  – 22A Leigh Street, Adelaide


Five O’Clock Somewhere – 101 Gilbert Street, Adelaide


The Pinhole Effect – Shop 20-22, Adelaide Arcade


Oh Deer Sugar – Shop 26, Regent Arcade, Adelaide


BNKR – 160 Rundle Mall, Adelaide



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