Hamburger Joint/Residential – Eastwood, NSW
Once upon a time, this shop would have served the hamburger and hot chip needs of as many residents of Eastwood as could be bothered walking to it. These days, it’s easier to just go to the Macquarie Centre.
Situated along Balaclava Road (bal-A-KLAAAAR-VA, or buh-LACK-luvuh for our SA readers), it’s clear that this was one of those corner shops of yore, the kind that would require a visit every few days to stock up on such olden days essentials like sugar, lard and chicken feed. But as times changed, so did the shop’s offerings.
Above the roller-door of the former loading dock is a telltale sign boasting of hamburgers and hot chips, cunningly repurposed as…some kind of reverse sign. You can bet that when it opened, hamburgers and hot chips were probably just gleams in Fred Hamburger and Glenn ‘Hot’ Chipps’ eyes, but to stay alive in the corner shop game, you’ve gotta diversify.
By what looks like the late 90s or, at a stretch, early 2000s, the place was even supplementing its bread-and-butter milk supply with Ski yoghurt. With a Woolworths within 5km in every direction by this point, it was a desperate time calling for desperate measures. But even the combined deliciousness of Fruits of the Forest weren’t enough to reverse the fortunes of this store.
In the end, the big boys won, and this dangerous threat to their dominance and manhood was eliminated. Do you think Coles and Woolworths shared a beer over this death? Do you think they even noticed? Undeniably aware of the building’s deep-fried past, the current owners have decided to take it in a different direction – residential. Won’t Coles and Woolworths be pleased?
Flemings Fabulous Food Store/Woolworths Supermarket – Bexley North, NSW
If you visit the suburb of Bexley North, you’ll find a supermarket with an identity crisis. Flemings, or in this case, Flemings Fabulous Food Store, opened as a chain of supermarkets in 1930, but in 1960 sold up to Woolworths. This particular Flemings is one of only two left in New South Wales, the other being in Jannali. Inside, it’s all Woolworths branded, but the name and the building itself (and some of the items on the shelves) are all vintage Flemings.
Why Woolies is prolonging the death of this particular Flemings should become obvious when you look to the right of the picture. When the new block of units (built on a former petrol station) opens, they’ll want a bigger supermarket, and if Woolworths can buy up the other tiny shops on this strip, expect a big budget overhaul that’ll relegate Flemings to Supermarket Heaven alongside Clancy’s and Jewel. Nothing like a bit of competition.