How an abandoned Myer building was turned into a bustling business venture

Brett NovakJuly 27, 2018

We caught up with Kate Hulett, Manager of MANY projects in Fremantle

Picture: Liz Looker of Kate Hulett

Explain MANY to us – what is it exactly?

“MANY Projects is the overarching title for an ongoing set of projects, which sees collections of small, independent businesses grouped together to utilise otherwise empty spaces. MANY is managed by an organisation called Spacemarket who’s mission is to pair disused spaces with useful people.”

How did the idea come about?

“MANY started in 2013 in an empty Myers department store in the centre of Fremantle. This launch project was called MANY 6160 and consisted of retail businesses (ground floor), an art gallery (basement), makers and artists (first and second floors) and a pop up bar on the roof. The department store was left empty and was earmarked for development – so we took it over to keep the area activated, give businesses a place to operate and to help contribute to a better future Fremantle.”

What stores/stockists do you have there at the moment?

“We moved in 2017 to three new locations – MANY 2.0 is the retail space, and is in an old Spotlight store (52 Adelaide St, Freo). The smaller makers were moved to MANY Triple Zero (empty police barracks on Henderson Street, Freo) and the larger/ light industrial makers moved to MANY North Freo (one of the old Matilda Bay Brewery buildings in North Fremantle). MANY 2.0 is our most public project (the others are really closed studio spaces) – and it is home to a hairdresser (Hairs on Fire), art gallery (Smart Casual), printing press (Neighbourhood Press) and a number of retailers including; Kate and Abel, The Gossamer Project, Fenwick Common, Dylan Springs Emporium and Made with love home and body. We are soon to welcome a new cafe, which hopefully open next month (July)!”

Picture by Liz Looker of Neighbourhood Press

What are your opening hours?

“MANY 2.0 is open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.”

Picture by Liz Looker of Hairs on Fire

What are the plans with the space/business for the future?

“The retail project, MANY 2.0, will operate in the building until it is ready for redevelopment. The building is going to be knocked down and rebuilt into apartments – and this could be any time from six months to a couple of years away. At that point, we’ll look for a new space and plan our next retail operation!”

What has worked best for you guys in terms of marketing?

“We have no budget for marketing, so really we rely on word of mouth. Luckily Freo is such a great and supportive community, so we really benefit from that. Also as we have so many independent businesses involved in the projects, the reach of our ‘voice’ goes quite far (when they each promote themselves).”

Who inspires you?

“We need to associate with forward thinking, flexible, positive people to make things work for the betterment of Fremantle. There are a core of great people in Freo Council (including the Mayor) who have been incredibly supportive and inspiring. One of the Freo development companies – Sirona Capital – are also incredibly inspiring with their aspirational plans for Fremantle. Generally anyone doing something different and bold and who aim high – are the ones who inspire us and keep us going.”

So what businesses have you found really inspire you?

“We’ve learnt from other projects across Australia and the world – including (but not limited to) Renew Newcastle, Splash Adelaide, The Tea Building (London) and Collette (Paris). Individually – we all need to get out of Perth as regularly as possible to see other businesses and schemes across the world to keep us innovating and doing new things.”

What do you love about being in Fremantle?

“It’s a proper community and people know each other and, as a whole, want to work together to make Freo better. Freo has the perfect blend of heritage, culture, arts, food, entertainment, port, sea, river… there’s no where else like it in the world. It’s a gem in Western Australia’s crown. “

Many 2.0 is located at 52 Adelaide Street in Fremantle and is open Thursday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm






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