A Day Out with... Heather Croall

Last updated 30 Mar, 2023

Supporting small businesses across the city is like visiting old friends for Adelaide Fringe Chief Executive and Artistic Director Heather Croall.

The arts and culture aficionado says small businesses bring diversity, energy and a “heartfelt” love of the precinct where they operate.

For Ms Croall they are the lifeblood that keeps the world going round.

“There is something absolutely lovely about going back again and again to small businesses that you have supported for many years,” Ms Croall says.

“Whether it is someone who is doing your dry cleaning or someone who is fixing your shoes … you just go into these places and get this feeling that you (and the staff) are good friends.”

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

The city becomes a “festival playground” for Ms Croall come February and March each year, with hundreds of thousands of people buying tickets to Adelaide Fringe shows around town.

She says it is a chance where people can be themselves, be “unedited” and experience a myriad of shows to simply soak up the event’s vibes.

The flow-on effects the festival brings to city businesses are aplenty, with many people exploring the city after their next quirky find.

“There are so many great festivals on the Adelaide festival calendar, but I guess the Adelaide Fringe is the true explosion just takes over the whole city,” Ms Croall says.

“There is something in every nook and cranny, and the city is just taken over.”

Getting Adelaide Fringe ready includes a great, eccentric hairdo, courtesy of her friends at Clip Joint on Rundle Street.

Ms Croall says the hair colourists have skills that are second to none and are a big factor as to why she has rocked a range of quirky and eccentric styles over the years.

“There is such a beautiful vibe in the salon, it is really laid back,” Ms Croall says.

“It is an absolute institution in Adelaide that is decades old, and the staff really look after you.

“You have a nice cup of coffee, and they transform you in an appointment.”

Trendy, hip get-up is just as important for Ms Croall, so Miss Gladys Sym Choon on Rundle Street is a must-visit.

She says she visits the shop, which she visits “far too often”, and admits majority of her wardrobe was originally on hangers at the store.

“The guys behind Miss Gladys Sym Choon, (the late Joff Chappell and Razak Mohammed), were responsible for transforming Rundle Street in the eighties … they had an impact on the whole East End precinct.

“You find stuff (at the shop) that you don’t see anywhere else … to me this is a really magical shop.”

Ms Croall will often head to Koomo, on the 10th floor at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, for a great meal and panoramic views of the city.

Koomo is a full-service Asian Fusion restaurant and is the city’s highest restaurant.

From small plates like kombu cured kingfish to Kerwee wagyu striploin — the restaurant has a strong Japanese influence.

“It is not often that you can sit in a restaurant in Adelaide with that sort of view,” Ms Croall says.

“The food is amazing and great for sharing — it is a good place for work meetings, birthdays and dinners.”

With the Adelaide Fringe just weeks away, Ms Croall is encouraging South Australians to get out and enjoy everything the festival has to offer.

“We have more than 1000 shows, 6000 performers and audience numbers are mind-blowing,” she says.

“It’s a phenomenal festival … there is no time quite like it.”

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