Small strip, big values
THE small strip of Surrey Hills shops in Whitehorse Rd has almost everything you could ever want for — delicious foods and boutique goods.
Some of the shops near the corner of Union Rd have been around for decades, while others opened just weeks ago.
All are in agreement on the importance of shopping locally.
The Windmill Educational Toys and Equipment believes it lays claim to being the oldest surviving shop in the strip, opening in 1977.
The shop is now owned by Jo Richards, who took over from her parents who started the business. “It’s great running a toy shop, I’m like a big kid, and my dad was the same,” Ms Richards said.
“My sisters and I used to work in the shop when were little — we loved it.
“We’ve seen different generations come in which is incredible — parents bringing their children in after remembering they used to visit when they were little.”
The Windmill shop is a maze of different rooms each with a different type of toy, whether it be arts and crafts, board games, puzzles, early childhood toys or outdoor play equipment.
“We also have a special needs section which has lots of visual, auditory and tactile toys for children who have special requirements,” Ms Richards said.
Just a few doors down is the newest addition to the street, Hellenis Cafe.
Hellenis, a Greek-inspired cafe, opened less than two months ago and is run by Blackburn husband and wife Scott and Mary Shade.
“Everything we sell is completely home-made, all the cakes, all the baklava, all the dips — we spend hours preparing all the food,” Ms Shade said.
“We’re open for breakfast and lunch, and at the moment we do dinner on Friday nights as well.”
Ms Shade said the Hellenis menu had a lot of delicious vegetarian options like zucchini fritters and spinach and cheese croquettes, but also delved into Greek-style meat dishes as well.
“We do four souvas including a breakfast one with bacon, eggs, halloumi, cheese, rocket and a Sriracha
mayonnaise which adds a bit of spice.”
A few doors down from Hellenis is the popular Hill Top Cakes, which has been in Whitehorse Rd for more than 30 years but moved into its new premises just last month.
Hill Top Cakes is a family affair, run by Helen and
It’s great running a toy shop, I’m like a big kid, and my dad was the same -JO RICHARDS WINDMILL TOYS
Franz Gabriel and their sons Sascha and Markus who make mouth-watering sweet and savoury treats. “Our old shop was just two doors down from here, but we’d had our eye on this one for a while,” Ms Gabriel said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to run a coffee shop and now we are, as well as still making all the pastries and cakes that we have been for years.”
“We do a beautiful butter pastry which a lot places don’t do anymore.”
Ms Gabriel said Hill Top Cakes was getting ready for an influx of Christmas treats like gingerbread houses.
“They’re amazing, they look beautiful,” she said.
With Hill Top Cakes supplying the birthday cakes, party planners will be pleased to know party shop Design Hire Enjoy is open nearby.
“Hill Top send their customers this way for candles, and we send ours up there for birthday cakes,” coowner Rhonda Gittos said.
“We took over the shop about five months ago, and after a career in event decorating, it’s a nice change of pace but where we can still help people get things ready for whatever special event they have coming up.
“We’re really pushing to be known for our boutique party supply items, a lot of the items we stock are really beautifully designed pieces, really nice things, that are a step above the tacky $2-shop style items you find in some of the bigger retailers — we’re a bit more niche.”
“We’re lucky it’s such a good location — all the businesses tie in together and we try to help each other out where we can.”
Everything we sell is completely homemade, all the cakes, all the baklava, all the dips — we spend hours preparing all the food
-MARY SHADE - HELLENIS
A lot of the items we stock are really beautifully designed pieces, really nice things -RHONDA GITTOS DESIGN HIRE ENJOY