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Braddon’s balance of retail power is shifting…

Emma Macdonald

Do you know your left from your right?

Because the balance of power on Lonsdale Street, Braddon, is changing.

Come next week, the grand opening of the major tenants who are polishing up locations in the new Nibu and Palko buildings will be taking place. It’s admittedly early days but there is already a mix of new and established Canberra names and the geometrical courtyards and winding alleyways bode well for a funky vibe on the “other” side of the street.

Yes, if you’ve been confined to the left-hand-side facing Civic, you will need to trot across that rainbow roundabout and check out all the new places on the right.

Inside Bitten Wholefoods. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Inside Bitten Wholefoods. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Let’s start with the gorgeous Bitten Goodfoods, started by partners Alex Howes and John Bruyn, which is just about the schmickest grocery store you’re ever likely to source your bread and milk from. Of course, with a strong focus on organic and wholefoods and the added bonus of the Bites bar for wholesome ready-made meals, Bitten will become a place you come to browse and stay for a coffee, rather than your usual supermarket where you get in and out as quick as you can.

Image: Emma Macdonald.

Image: Emma Macdonald.

Next door is a firm Canberra favourite – Bison Home – which supplies swoon-worthy ceramics and glassware to discerning buyers across the country. Designer Brian Tunks has collated a stunning mix for the beautiful new store – even the dog bowls are covetable. And don’t panic if you love to browse the Pialligo flagship on a weekend. It is staying put.

Inside Koji Collection. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Inside Koji Collection. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Chloe Kim and Lucas Choi of Koji Collection have a meticulous eye for detail and are ready and waiting for customers to discover the joys of all things Korean. From those fabulous face masks everyone is instagramming, to street clothes and accessories you simply won’t find at the big chain stores, Koji Collection is as beautifully collated as a small Korean art gallery.

KIN Gallery moves from The Hamlet. Image: Emma Macdonald.

KIN Gallery moves from The Hamlet. Image: Emma Macdonald.

Similarly, KIN promises to bring us more of the region’s emerging design talent, with a large new store and workshop. KIN represents 44 artists across various media and runs workshops, exhibitions and classes. Ingrid Penc, who helped bring the collective to life, said she was delighted to move from the Hamlet to the glamorous, and well-heated confines of the new Palko building.

Mr Papa is moving in. Image: Tim Bean Photography

Mr Papa is moving in. Image: Tim Bean Photography

Meanwhile, Braddon-ites will also be able to savour the culinary delights of one of our favourite locals Mr Papa, and the street food on offer at Hey Kuya, which is run by the team behind the Weston Creek Filipino restaurant Kusina.

Or perhaps they will celebrate all things “lowbrow” – read indie tees, graphic art supplies, art toys, stickers, zines, skate decks and art – at Sancho’s Dirty Laundry.

Sancho's Dirty Laundry will be bringing indie tees, graphic art supplies, art toys, stickers, zines, skate decks.

Sancho’s Dirty Laundry will be bringing indie tees, graphic art supplies, art toys, stickers, zines, skate decks.

Brooklyn and Harlow Hair are setting up a salon and how lucky are residents of the new property to have access to their very own, in-house liquor store, thanks to the Blackhearts and Sparrows gang from Melbourne.

With the commercial district blossoming directly below 71 high-end apartments, the Nibu and Palko buildings are likely to get very busy quickly. Those other leases on the ground floor probably won’t stay empty for long.

The traders are celebrating their official opening on Thursday from 6pm, with food samples, music and a blue dwarf (don’t ask!).

the essentials

What: The Nibu x Palko Launch Party
Where: Lonsdale Street Braddon
When: Thursday 30 November, 6pm.
Web: facebook.com

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism – including a Walkley or two – along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials.

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