It’s been a big week for Victoria, and feeling the whole of Melbourne exhale a collective sigh from Wednesday morning was like walking into the warm sunshine after a long and bitterly cold winter. As Melburnians shake off the cobwebs from the last few months inside, we’re keen to get things back into gear, including splashing some of our iso-savings at small, local businesses across Melbourne.

Though we saw masses of shoppers wanting to get their immediate retail therapy fix at midnight on Tuesday night by lining up outside big hitters like Kmart, small businesses around Victoria are also right in the sights of the wallets of Victoria and beyond. So with that in mind, I decided to wrangle the wider PEDESTRIAN family and find out who their fave local VIC businesses are.

So here’s a big ol’ collection of small businesses across Melbourne and wider Victoria to spend some cash with as the cogs begin to turn again.

1. St Ali Coffee

In a city obsessed with its coffee, St Ali is probably one of the best. Very good bean, and they’ve kicked up a little general store this year too. Now they sell all sorts of treats like molasses liquorice and ramen eggs. RAMEN EGGS.

2. Siello Designs

Even though I have floppy little earlobes that don’t take proper earrings anymore, I can’t help but be entirely enamoured with all the polymer clay pieces from Siello. Maybe I can swindle them into making me some clip-back fancies.

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3. Hagen’s Organics Grocer

One thing I’ve adored in lockdowns is just ditching the big supermarkets as much as possible and opting for fresh produce boxes and smaller grocers, and small businesses like Hagen’s is pretty much a one-stop-shop for all your pantry and fridge essentials.

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4. Sticky Institute

Creativity and Melbourne go hand in hand, and this zine space in the heart of the CBD (burrowed in the Degraves Subway) has embodied the spirit of the Melbourne zine scene since 2001.

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5. Bush Flowers

Every time I wander past Bush’s flower shop on Rathdowne St in North Calton, I have to stop and stick my head inside to huff the strong scent of eucalypt and fresh native flora. Everything the team does is stunning and they’re my go-to whenever I want to treat someone (or myself).

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6. Capiche Cocktails

I actually had a chat with Tom Loosli the man behind the bar at Capiche Cocktails recently, and as a fresh face on the Melbourne scene, he’s already making a name for himself with excellently thought-out cocktail kits. I can tell you right now I really need to try this Bush Food G&T already.

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7. WesEggs

A cluckload of very happy chooks down Geelong way are laying some of the state’s most legit free-range eggs, and you can get them delivered to your house for free. Bloody hell that’s a good deal.

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8. Petals & Pictures By Jess

Truly so obsessed with these little pressed flowers set in resin. OBSESSED.

9. Dazma Wine Company

Formed between the Black Summer fires and the pandemic kicking off in Victoria, Dazma Wine Co. partners up with plonk purveyors from Kilmore to Merbein, bringing the loosest juice from right across the traps. They’re yet to launch an online store themselves but you can grab the neck of a bottle or two from a bunch of fine wine shops across Melbourne, Sydney, and a couple of their mates’ online shops.

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10. Callum Preston

Not only did Callum spray up the sick ‘Mel-bourne Again’ mural on the side of The Rose in Fitzroy, but he’s also got a very slick set of art, prints, skateboard decks, and puzzles in his online shop. I’m already gonna buy myself the Pop Down The Shops print sets, hey.

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11. Two Pounds Picnic Hampers

As Melbourne creaks the doors back open and dusts off the cobwebs after a bloody LONG quiet winter, picnics are high on the agenda. The legends over at Two Pounds have pulled together some of their finest skills to make up little no-fuss-needed picnic hampers – because there’s nothing more annoying than getting all the way to the park only to realise you’re missing a snack essential.

The hampers start at $49 for a cheese or grazing box, or you can go all0out with a premium smorgasbord picnic if you’re feeling incredibly fancy, or have a few mouths to feed.

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This is obviously not an exhaustive list, and I’ll be adding to it as I find more great small businesses and co-ops but hey, why not start your Christmas shopping already or just treat yourself to a little something special after this punish of a year? You bloody deserve it, mate.

Image: Instagram / @callumpreston