Rivalry aside as Whatley traders unite

Whatley Crescent traders have teamed up to stay open. Photo by Bruno Kongawoin, Lightbent Images & Photography.

WHATLEY Crescent businesses in Maylands have banded together to survive the Covid-19 storm, tossing aside rivalries to share deliveries.

Chapels on Whatley co-founder Keith Archer said it would’ve been a struggle staying open while going it alone.

He sells some tea online, but 85 per cent of his business is from people coming into the store for a sit-down sip and snack.

“All that’s gone now. My business was just shattered,” he says.

For many stores making individual deliveries was too costly, while big delivery apps like Ubereats takes 30 per cent of the sale price, not just the delivery fee.

Delivery apps on smartphones can also exclude some older folk who are most vulnerable to Covid-19, so they’ve kept it very simple: Call any of the stores on the Whatley Crescent strip, give them your order, and “we’ll run up the road and grab it… if we can’t find it we’ve got an IGA really close,” Mr Archer says. The deliveries are free. 

The idea for a delivery collective came about when chatting to long-time customer Josh Bryson about how to keep the doors open.

Mr Bryson runs Oneshot Productions just around the corner and put together a promo clip, and local photographer Bruno Kongawoin volunteered to do a shoot with the business owners.

The “Bring Whatley Home” delivery system’s been running for a week and people have been asking for a varied range of goods in their orders: Bread, milk, dinner, dessert and a book. 

They’re even doing delivery runs for the fashion stores like Look Feel Be & Lula & Sasha, bringing out clothes for a fitting session and then picking them back up on the next run if it’s not a fit.

“In the past it’s been about competing [but] I’ve been adamant, it’s not about competition, let’s all get in this together,” Mr Archer said. 

When Covid-19 is a memory, he hopes some changes will stick around and people will appreciate the small businesses that can adapt to serve their needs faster than the lumbering multinationals.

“I think people will shop more local than ever before, because they realise the importance of having small operators who can do things at the drop of a hat.

By DAVID BELL

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