The City of Perth recognises that businesses and business activity contribute to the vibrancy and energy of the city, and the time to apply for a City Business Improvement Grant is now!
Here’s how some previous grant recipients have used their funding to improve their venues and boost City vitality.
Connections Nightclub is a Northbridge institution and used its City Business Improvement Grant to erect a giant illuminated rainbow above the iconic club.
Venue owner Tim Brown said the sign, which measures 4 metres by 6 metres, was not just to promote the club but was also an important place marker for the nightclub district.
“As well as it being a symbol of the gay community, it’s also a symbol for hope and rebirth, regarding COVID and the revitalisation of Northbridge,” Mr Brown said.
The sign is on top of the original James Street Connections building, facing the WA Art Gallery. Connections, which opened in 1975, now spreads across two buildings and was the first City venue to open a rooftop terrace, about 10 years ago.
Mr Brown said the club’s $17,500 grant, which the business matched, meant the realisation of a project that was planned years ago.
“We’ve worked very closely with the City of Perth over the years and it’s been great to work on such an important and symbolic project together,” Mr Brown said.
“The general community, the Pride community - all parties - worked together to get a result. It’s been very much about community at several levels.”
Live music and late bar Badlands used its City Business Improvement Grant to harness the myth and legend of its US namesake, while improving its surrounds.
The bar opened in 2016 and last year owner Mark Partridge took the opportunity of quieter times to make some safety improvements for staff and customers.
The venue used its $10,000 grant money to improve CCTV and lighting options and commissioned world-renowned Perth artist and muralist Art by Destroy to capture the essence of Badlands on the bar’s exterior.
“It brought good safety outcomes for our staff and our customers so it was a really positive outcome for the City of Perth, and for us as well,” Mr Partridge said.
Meanwhile, Art by Destroy developed a theme for his striking mural to tie in with the bar’s image.
“Badlands is a national park in the USA, so he used the origins of the name and tied it back to the Fear and Loathing Book by Hunter S. Thompson, and the movies,” Mr Partridge said.
The venue will now consider utilising the City’s Bounce Back grants for further enhancements.
City grant launches CBD space for small businesses
City Business Improvement Grants enable fledgling ideas to flourish, as demonstrated by the creation of Perth City Market in the Murray Street Mall.
JJ Leach Group saw an opportunity to turn two vacated properties into one giant space, to help small businesses - just as COVID-19 lockdowns were hitting hard in 2020.
The CBD concept encourages small businesses to rent space as stallholders, for as little as $60 a day, for flexible periods of time up to six months.
JJ Leach Group Property Manager Karis Vitas said their $20,000 grant, matched by the business, had provided an opportunity for small businesses to showcase their wares in the heart of the CBD.
“At one point, we had 25 small businesses operating out of the marketplace,” Ms Vitas said.
“Last year was really successful, despite COVID-19 restrictions, and while it has been a little slower this year, we are expecting things to improve in coming months.”
The 500sqm space is divided into small shop spaces, which stallholders can rent for a day, a weekend, weeks or months.
The coffee shop at the front of Perth City Market, Don Massimo’s, began as a weekend leasing agreement which became longer term. That business is setting up its own shop front and is being replaced by Sweeties Co. in May 2022.
“To our knowledge, there’s nothing like this going on in the City with this kind of flexibility for small businesses,” Ms Vitas said.
“There’s no doubt that without the $20,000 from the City of Perth, this would have taken a lot longer to establish.”
City grant gives Pirate Life Perth a colourful buzz
New CBD brewery Pirate Life Perth used its City Business Improvement Grant to add a stunning mural to its exterior.
The buzzing bees are a nod to the venue’s underground rum bar, Honey, which is set to open later this year.
The mural, by Blank Walls, has added a stunning façade to the brewery’s entrance, at 440 Murray Street.
Pirate Life Perth operator and restaurateur Andy Freeman said the biggest hospitality investment in the City for some years needed a stunning finish.
“Art is a very big part of Pirate Life’s brand,” Mr Freeman said.
“The grant was fantastic – it’s helped to create an ‘Instagram-able’ work that’s proved very popular.”
Work on the giant bees was finished last October and Pirate Life Perth is seeing business in the area picking up.
“I think once the masks are gone that will help a lot, too,” Mr Freeman said.
Pirate Life Perth used some of its $20,000 grant - matched by the business - for other façade maintenance, CCTV and lighting upgrades.
City grant helps pharmacy to open a café
Kings Park Pharmacy has used its City Business Improvement Grant to create a coffee shop – aptly name Jacobs Larder, to reflect its proximity to Kings Park’s favourite exercise spot.
The café, which has indoor and some outdoor seating, is now attracting locals, as well as nearby hospital staff and patients.
“It does bring a lot of traffic flow through the pharmacy now,” said pharmacist and owner Andrew Twaddle.
“Some people stop and browse on the way through to the café, so that brings the opportunity for extra business,” he added.
The pharmacy, at 140 Mounts Bay Road, matched its $17,500 grant - using the money to revamp the pharmacy space and create the café, which had started as a coffee window idea.
“We probably wouldn’t have gone ahead with the shop without the funding,” Mr Twaddle said.
“We’re now going to investigate the Perth Bounce Back al fresco dining permit fast-track option, as we may consider adding more tables outside.”
Jacobs Larder is open between 6.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays and between 7am and midday on Saturdays.
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