Melbourne and the Authenticity of Family-Run Businesses

Of all the cities I’ve visited in the last 365 days, Melbourne has got to be my favourite. After the hustle and bustle of Sydney, I flew into Melbourne only a week ago to find that the entire city has a calming small town feel, even in its busy core.

I’m living out in East Brunswick – the Ossington of Melbourne – where cute cafes and eclectic shops dot the streets. People are active, artsy and kind here. Differences are accepted and well-being seems to be the common goal. When the sun is shining, people are out in the park playing cricket or picnicking upon blankets under the trees.

When an Aussie friend suggested I take a walk around Edinburgh Gardens in a little suburb called Fitzroy, I jumped on the tram and headed toward the park. Out the tram window I spotted a shop with a bright display. Not knowing where I was, and in need of a beach bag, I jumped off at the next stop and headed over to check it out. Just a prettily decorated salon – not the bag shop I was hoping for – so I turned and walked down Nicholson towards the next tram stop intending to carry on with my journey. As I headed along, half aware of my surroundings, half lost in thought, a chalkboard street sign that read “Organic Blueberries” (pictured above), caught my eye.

Having just come from the centre of Sydney, I hadn’t seen local or organic anything in a while! So I walked up to the shop and stepped inside.

Before me stood a wall of gorgeous wooden crates, each stamped with Senserrick – the name of the store – and filled to the brim with the latest local goodies. This little “green grocer” was established here in Melbourne just last year by Julian Senserrick and his family. Their aim is to stock fresh produce, local and organic where possible. When I mentioned how impressed I was with the variety of their produce, they bashfully informed me that half their stock was gone. They sold much of their stuff already and were about to close for the day – a surprise because even at half-full they beat out the competition for having the most variety of each vegetable. I think I saw three varieties of lemon, and at least 7 different types of potato, among many other things. They even have ready-made meals for health conscious eaters on the go!

But I have to admit – what got me was the sign over the register: “Fresh Juice.”

I looked around but saw no menu. Eagerly I asked Julian what types of juices they make and he jumped right up and offered me, off the top of his head, about 4 different recipes. “We have many more but our menus aren’t up yet.” Turns out Senserrick is getting a little make over! Being fruit-free for the morning, Julian tweaked a few ingredients and came up with a delicious blend that was so full of flavour my tastebuds nearly exploded. You won’t find wasteful cups at Senserrick’s. Each juice is packaged in a small or large glass bottle with a black cap and a custom label. Return it and you’ll recieve a dollar off your next juice.

With my juice in hand, and a smaller one in my pocket for later, I head off for a picnic of my own in Edinburgh Gardens.

The pleasant experience at Senserrick got me thinking about how valuable small, family run businesses are. Julian helped me create a green juice that suited my needs, and although he had previously been packing up to close, he showed no lack of patience at answering all my questions and letting me have a look at their storage room, snapping pictures all the while. Senserrick displays the values that are lost in chain stores and conventional grocers. You can easily tell that this is the kind of place that establishes friendships and loyal customers. The Senserrick’s seem like the type of people that would easily go out of their way to bring in a requested item for a customer, and I really value places that make you feel like you’ve walked into a little community. We need more of that.

If if you’re ever in Melbourne I highly recommend you drop in to Senserrick. Grab some organic produce, a healthy meal to go, or stop by for a juice. Support Senserrick and other local businesses just like them, and help keep the vibe alive.

Senserrick is located at 687 Nicholson St. in Carlton North, Victoria Australia

Or you can visit them on Facebook by clicking here.

Lifestyle & TravelMarisa