A Day Out with... Pauline Carr

Last updated 01 Feb, 2023

University of South Australia Chancellor Pauline Carr is forever learning about the small businesses that pop up around the city.

From consignment apparel stores where she can find something old to make new or small cafes where she can conquer a chocolate craving, Ms Carr says there are countless places around town worth visiting.

“One of the great things about small businesses is they are unique, and they care about their clientele,” Ms Carr says.

“They bring an energy and are dynamic … we are really lucky we have so many in Adelaide.”

ADLocal caught up with Ms Carr as part of its A day out with... series where top business leaders promote the little guys that make the city tick.

O’Connell Street consignment store Marilyn's Depot Vente, which specialises in resale of designer fashion and accessories, is among the places Ms Carr likes to visit for a change in get-up.

With sustainability in fashion now an important part of society, Marilyn's Depot Vente has become a popular choice to buy clothing that looks as good as new.

She says stock changes regularly, so every time she visits the shop she gets a different experience.

“The shop is a great way to be environmentally conscious and recycle your clothes,” Ms Carr says.

“You take your clothes that you have either outgrown or have just been a bad choice, and then they are resold … your treasured piece goes to a new owner to be much-loved.”

“Marilyn has had the shop for a number of years, so she really knows her textiles and provides a great service.”

If those clothes need a facelift, Ms Carr heads to The Button Bar in the Adelaide Arcade to give them a new lease on life.

The Button Bar, which opened about 75 years ago, has the largest retail selection of fashion buttons in Australia, and carries a comprehensive range of sewing and knitting goods.

She says new buttons can completely change “the look” of a piece of clothing to suit your personal style.

“The Button Bar is a little gem and is an absolute treasure trove,” Ms Carr says.

“I think the importance of the circular economy is something we are all very conscious about, so buttons are a great way to change an outfit.

“You can take your jacket in, and they’ll tell you what suits you.

“Make it unique – throw some buttons on it.”

Inside the University of South Australia’s MOD. Building — Australia's leading future-focused museum — is a café called Food Lore where Ms Carr will visit for a pick-me-up when the days get long.

Ms Carr says the café has great service, interesting food and is a favourite with students and staff at the university’s City West campus.

Food Lore serves roasted coffee from the Fleurieu Peninsula and boasts a menu with the very best local and seasonable produce.

“I just go straight for the cakes, particularly anything with chocolate in there” Ms Carr says.

“I love anything sweet, like the chocolate and walnut torte.”

Ms Carr says the small businesses across town make the city a great place to work, live and play, and ensure the district doesn’t fall victim to retail “homogenisations”.

“That’s when everything is just the same, but that gets really boring, you know,” she says.

Ms Carr says she feels proud when small businesses, owned by former students, pop up around town.

“We see some really great success stories, even after 30 years,” she says.

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