Someone certainly took away the food from this pitiful row of shops along Parramatta Road at Leichhardt. It’s hard to see, but beneath the BEEFBURGERS sign, it says ‘Millions of Varieties‘. Wow, what a boast, considering they’ve already chosen the very specific ‘beefburgers’ to promote the shop. By the look of the building, this middle shop might have been the jewel in the crown of these three businesses once upon a time, but those days are long gone.
Take away shops on busy roads like this tend to die off when surrounding businesses start to close down, because it’s not like motorists can easily stop and run in for beefburger variety #6,546,500. Parramatta Road anywhere is not really the right environment for this kind of place, but that doesn’t deter them. Nor, clearly, does it deter the button shop next door. That’ll work.
Yes, I know it’s another laundry, but shops like these need their due. Besides, this one put more effort into its appearance than did the last one, so its failure and eventual closure is that much more tragic.
Going by the font it’d have to be 60s-70s, and it seems to have had a seven digit phone number so it lasted awhile. Even more interesting is that underneath the colourful Enfield Laundry paint job, you can see that the site was once a produce and firewood store.
The Strathfield Council seems to have given up hope that the shop will ever be used again, and has put this bench across the door as a barricade. Presumably, this took place after council gave every single household in the vicinity their own washing machine.
I love that ‘ice cold’ font. It’s so effective. I can get a strong visual sense of just how ice cold those drinks will be, and how refreshing that temperature would be to me on a hot summer’s day. But you have to consider, the logic of the ice cold drinks font dictates that that fancy font for ‘continental’ was intended by the designer to be somehow indicative of the continental experience. Strangely, it works. Deli meat seems so much more worldly when it’s preceded by that font.
It appears that what happened here is during the mixed business boom of the late 80s-early 90s, what was once a sole deli saw in the ailing laundromat an opportunity to branch out, and seized it. The laundry was absorbed and the deli offered a literal mixed business experience to the people of Enfield. It probably even had a Street Fighter II machine. But when the boom died and Burwood Westfield was renovated, the only customers were those getting off the bus of an afternoon, and you can’t pay the rent with profits from a few ice cold cans and packets of chips. Strange that they didn’t remove the Enfield Laundry sign on the front window, though.
Incidentally, this shop sits along Coronation Parade, Enfield, which we’ll look at in the near future…
In 1886, British migrant George Marchant purchased a Brisbane ginger beer manufacturing plant. By 1890, Marchants was the largest soft drink business in Australia, with a product range including hop beer, soft drinks and cordial, and with plants in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Newcastle and Sydney. Oh, and Bexley.
Let’s not beat around the bush – the building looks old. The Bexley depot of the Marchants soft drink empire may be a panel beater now, but it’s clear to see how it would have been back then. It looks like a horse and cart might explode from behind that door at any second in a frenzied rush to deliver kegs of creaming soda, just like in the olden days.
George Marchant was known for his strong belief in social equality, and women workers in his factories earned more than the average female wage in the food industry at the time. When the soft drink company’s registration was abandoned in 1917, the brand name was sold off and kicked around for decades between Pepsi, Shelleys, and ultimately Coca-Cola, which owns the brand today. Marchant himself died in 1941, by which time this site was long since out of the soft drink business. Hmm…I’m thirsty.
In the 1950s and 60s, a lot of Chinese restaurants offered Australian cuisine because racist old cobbers refused to eat ‘Oriental Chinko food’ and demanded options. Yep, nothing like getting take-away for a treat on Friday night and having the same steak and veggies you had all week, only instead of cooking it for you, your wife goes and gets it.
Unrelated, Indian Hut seems to have been okay to leave the Australian and Chinese bit of the shopfront bare, but painted over a Coca-Cola advert. Maybe they’re Pepsi people.
It takes a visionary mind to look at a milk bar and think ‘THAT’S where I’m going to realise my dream of removing hair by laser, professionally.’
This shop is across the road from the former Arnotts Biscuits factory at Strathfield, and would have once provided workers with hamburgers and refreshments. From what I can gather, Ecks was a big player in the soft drinks industry until the 1960s, when it was absorbed by Shelleys. Shelleys was absorbed by Coca-Cola, and the brand name changed to Kirks. Soft drink melodrama aside, it looks like somone punched a hole in the wall below the Ecks logo in the above picture. What’s that about?