Bra boutique supporting Carlisle Street revitalisation

City of Port Phillip
The first pop-up in a vacant shop activation to help revitalise Carlisle Street, Balaclava, has opened.

While Peek a Bras has a strong online presence, the award-winning company is looking forward to fitting customers in person in a “brick-and-mortar” outlet.

The $200,000 Carlisle Street Shopfront Activation Program is funded by Port Phillip Council and delivered by The Place Agency.

Under the initiative, up to $10,000 is available for participants to lease vacant properties for one to 12 months. Spaces are offered to tenants below the market rate. Outgoings, such as utilities, are covered by the tenant.

As with many other retail precincts, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to vacancy rates along Carlisle Street. While new, long-term businesses have set up shop there over the past few months, short-term pop-ups in vacant properties offered under the program are a perfect way to test the market or trial products.

“Carlisle Street offers a unique retail experience, from independent retailers to cosmopolitan cafes,” Mayor Heather Cunsolo said.

“Building on this reputation by filling vacant shopfronts with new businesses is a win for shop owners, traders and our local economy. We can’t wait to celebrate more newcomers participating in this innovative program, right in the heart of Balaclava.”

The Peek a Bras range features patented fabric “skins” which slip easily over bras to provide a flattering, comfortable and fashionable look for all body types and ages. CEO and inventor Ashley Grottoli said the activation program is a great fit for her business, which started online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I feel Carlisle Street chose me. It’s vibrant with a lot of diversity and welcomes new ideas,” Ms Grottoli said. “Moving into a shopfront is so necessary as we really want to be able to meet and fit our customers.”

The Carlisle Street Traders Association (CSTA) has been a strong advocate for the pop-up activation.

“The CSTA welcomes the first shop for this program which will enhance the comeback of our famous Carlisle Street,” Vice-President Igor Vainer said. “We look forward to continuing working with Council on other ways of revitalising our precinct.”

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