We love our local! Our local traders are the heart and soul of our retail districts. In this series, we get to know the businesses of Essendon North Village.
This area is all I have really known my whole life and I love it. My family moved to Essendon from Lebanon in 1965 on my first birthday and I have been part of this community ever since.Ray from Chilli Clothing
"I attended St Therese’s Primary School and then St Bernard’s College, and at 15 I got a part-time job at Coles New World across the road - as it was known back then.
In 1993 I married my wife Rena and we moved into our first home in Spencer Street. We actually had our wedding reception at the old Roseville Ballroom, which used to operate on Leake Street. In 1995 we gave birth to our first son and the following year we had our second son. We are truly an Essendon family; even supporting the mighty Bombers.
In 2005 Rena and I embarked on a new adventure and purchased Chilli Clothing. Rena, who has a love of fashion, was very experienced in the industry and I brought to the partnership a strong background in IT and business administration. So, I do all the backend work and Rena is the fashion expert and face of the business.
We love living and operating a business in this area. We have many fantastic, loyal customers and great neighbours. I think this creates a real sense of community and belonging."
"About seven years ago we renovated and re-branded Chilli Clothing and made it our own. I am really proud of this achievement and how the store now better reflects me and our style of clothing, which is elegant, sophisticated and classic.
I believe Chilli Clothing has been successful because of our great customer service and honesty. Making people feel good and look good is my passion. For me it’s not about the money; it’s not just about selling clothes; it’s about bringing joy to people and building lasting relationships.
I feel so lucky to have such great customers who are loyal, caring and supportive. I have many local mums who have been shopping with us since we opened. I love seeing their children grow up and their families expand over the years. Many aren’t just customers anymore, they are friends.
Essendon is a great area and our little village is definitely the community hub and a central meeting point for everyone. I often feel like we are in a country town. Whether it’s another trader or a customer, there is a unique sense of belonging here and we all look out for each other."
Council supports small business and offers plenty of support to help your business grow. Get great advice from our small business mentoring service, come along to a free workshop, or collaborate with other small business owners at Acorn.
To see what's on for businesses, check out our events page and change the display from "all events" to "business".