Discover Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh

George Papageorgiou of Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh

George Papageorgiou of Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh.

If you’ve ever heard of koupes, tashinopites and sheftalies, you’re probably well acquainted with Cypriot food. It not, you have the chance to taste them at Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh.

The restaurant, which recently opened in Oakleigh’s bustling Eaton Mall, offers authentic Cypriot cuisine.

The business is run by George and Georgia Papageorgiou, a young husband and wife team who have a passion for sharing the recipes their grandmothers taught them.

They both recognised the large Greek population in Melbourne, as well as the strong Greek community in Oakleigh, and knew that they had a market that would enjoy the dishes they wanted to sell.

Some of the most popular items on the menu include koupes (cracked wheat and mince parcels), tashinopites (tahini filled pastry) and sheftalies (mince parcels). Souvlaki, including the open-plate variety and gyros, is also on offer.

Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh
Drinks counter at Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh

The business began about three years ago at Oakleigh’s popular Greek festival Oakleigh Glendi and following an overwhelming response, they decided to take their mobile food stall to events across Melbourne and country Victoria.

George said they were looking to expand the business and setting up a physical store in Oakleigh was part of that expansion plan.

“Oakleigh was an important location for us because we started there. It was also important because of the local community, and the Cypriot community, and we thought we could bring something different to them,” said George.

The response to the new store has so far been positive and George said many customers enjoyed the food because it offered them something different to traditional Greek cuisine.

“Our food is a little bit more of a Mediterranean-style cuisine, with a lot of Lebanese and Middle Eastern flavours through the dishes,” George said.

“I think that is what attracts people to us, the fact that we offer a unique flavour.

“Our food is very authentic to Cypriot food – a lot of customers tell us that they feel like they’re eating something from home in Cyprus. It’s a real compliment.”

All pictures by Samantha Haines

Cypriot Street Grill in Oakleigh

Visit the store

Cypriot Street Grill

18 Eaton Mall, Oakleigh.

Discover Oakleigh-based clothing label Honeybell Waterwear

Discover Oakleigh-based clothing label Honeybell Waterwear

Honeybell Waterwear founder Annaliese Allen.

An Oakleigh-based clothing label that helps protect women from the sun has earned one of Australia’s top small business awards.

Honeybell Waterwear was recently named the Champion New Business at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, the only national awards program to recognise small businesses.

The win was a surprise for Honeybell Waterwear founder Annaliese Allen, whose business had only been in operation for seven months at the time of receiving the award.

“I was beyond thrilled,” Allen said of her win.

The mother-of-two said the award nomination process was difficult because it forced her to truly reflect on herself and her business.

“Those first six months (of running the business), I was working unbelievable hours – and all at unusual times around nap time and around children’s schedules,” she said.

“There are so many success stories in the media about mumpreneurs rocking it out and doing really well. But a lot of those stories don’t show the amount of hard work, grit and determination it takes to launch a business. A lot of mums are afraid to talk about the realities.”

For Allen, the hard work began on a family holiday to Coffs Harbour where she recalls sitting on the beach with a towel over her shoulders to protect her skin from the harsh Australian sun.

“When you become a mum your attitude towards sun safety dramatically changes,” she said.

“I really thought I should be doing better, setting a better example. I came to the realisation that I needed to look after myself too.”

Allen came up with an idea to create a rashie that women could wear and feel confident in.

She researched suppliers, found fashion and print designers, and sketched designs of a rash vest for women that was stylish, flattering and comfortable to wear.

As an advocate of supporting women in business, Allen only hired Australian women to help bring her products to life.

Discoverist Oakleigh Honeybell Waterwear

It took about 16 months of planning and production before Honeybell Waterwear officially launched in September 2016, and the journey hasn’t been without its challenges.

“I think the hardest thing is probably just being on your own a lot,” Allen said.

“When I worked in a corporate environment there was always someone to pat your back or chat things over with. When you start out on your own and work on a business during children’s nap time, at weekends and around the kids, there was never anyone around to keep me accountable or give me the encouragement to keep going.”

Allen found solace in online groups formed to encourage mums in business. It was here that she connected with other women, networked and found the support she needed.

Moving into the first year of business, Allen enlisted the help of a business coach to ensure her clothing label would continue to head in the direction that she wanted.

Currently, Allen has stopped advertising her business while it’s “off season” and is using the time to focus on other areas of her business without the distraction of sales and advertising.

“I’m using this time to learn and improve things like my customer service experience and website conversions,” Allen said.

Honeybell Waterwear founder Annaliese Allen

For the next six to 12 months Allen will continue to focus on her core product range and “do them well”.

“They’re classic cuts in classic colours so can last season after season,” she said.

The label’s most popular item is the shirt-dress which offers a modern twist on a 1950’s classic rashie dress. Designed with clean lines, the dress features long sleeves, a slimming tie at the waist and subtle front buttons. Not only is it a smart choice when spending time in the sun, the practical design will take you from the beachside to a casual dinner in comfort.

For Allen, her mission is greater than offering women stylish outdoor wear.

“With two in every three Australians being diagnosed with skin cancer, we all know the importance of sun protection, but the answer is not as simple as telling women to wear a rash vest,” she said.

“Traditional rash vests are unflattering so this message has not been resonating with women who are body or fashion conscious. Recognising that sun protective clothing is only helpful if you wear it, I set out to design something that will make women want to wear it.”

Allen’s goal is to play a part in turning around Australia’s very scary skin cancer statistics.

“I’m giving women the opportunity to be fashionable and sun smart – a more positive angle on the sun smart message,” she said.

View the full Honeybell Waterwear range here.

Discover hair and beauty salon Blo Bar in Oakleigh

Discover hair and beauty salon Blo Bar in Oakleigh

For a hair and beauty salon that goes above and beyond for its customers, look no further than Blo Bar in Oakleigh. 

The salon, which has become renowned for its express blow wave service, also offers cuts, colours, styling, makeup, nails, spray tans and eyelash extensions. Think of it as a one-stop shop to beautify yourself.

Blo Bar offers a beautiful space that is clean, light and airy – and pops of yellow in the décor add a cheerful touch.

Blo Bar manager Soulitsa Zevgaras said the salon, which has been operating for almost four years, prides itself on offering customers an exceptional experience.

“We have little goodie bags, we offer complimentary tea, coffee, champagne and wine, cookies, nuts. We have a good playlist (of music), we have a TV for people to watch while they get their hair washed, and stools so they can put their feet up,” she said.

“We love hair and we love people, so we really pride ourselves on offering all those little extras.”

Ms Zevgaras said she wants customers to come to Blo Bar and feel like their friend is doing their hair and makeup – it’s all about making the experience personal.

“We want to have that relationship with people where they can be open and honest with us, so they can tell us what they want done and we can cater to their needs,” she said.

Blo Bar in Oakleigh is renowned for their signature blow waves

Consultation is an important part of doing business at Blo Bar, and the staff take the time to ask clients lots of questions about how they’d like their hair and makeup done or what changes they’d like to make, Ms Zevgaras said.

“We let our clients know, step-by-step, the process that we’re going through so they’re not sitting there thinking ‘what is happening to my hair or my face?’ We guide them through it,” she said.

“We also address clients by their names, which is not only an ice-breaker but it also personalises the service we offer.”

Providing quality and personalised service is a way that Blo Bar creates trust with their customers, of which many are referred by existing patrons.

“Nothing is too extreme for us. We’ll go out of our way and we are really accommodating to people. For example, we close on Mondays but if girls have formals on and want to book in on a Monday, we’ll open for certain hours to fit those clients in,” Ms Zevgaras said.

Ms Zevgaras said Blo Bar is an all-inclusive salon, where everyone is welcome. They cater to women, men, children, and elderly folk from all backgrounds.

“You’re never too old or too young; we cater to everyone,” Ms Zevgaras said.

Part of Blo Bar’s mission is to offer their clients quality “me time” where they can come in, relax and enjoy a luxurious treatment.

“Regardless of what’s happening outside, you can come in here it’s like a different world. It’s a happy place,” Ms Zevgaras said.

Visit Blo Bar

Blo Bar

22A Atherton Rd, Oakleigh

Phone: 9975 7733

Opening hours: Monday – Closed; Tuesday 9am – 5pm; Wednesday – Thursday 9am – 8pm; Friday 9am – 6pm; Saturday 8.30am – 4.30pm; Sunday 8am – 4pm. 

Coles refurbishment to enhance shopping at Oakleigh Central

Coles Oakleigh unveils refurbishment

Major supermarket Coles unveiled its refurbished store in Oakleigh Central shopping centre last week.

The store celebrated the overhaul with a relaunch event on Friday, April 7 where Coles employees made speeches, presented a cake and had activities including traditional Greek dancing, a live radio broadcast by 3XY, free coffee and product giveaways.

The store’s longest serving member Karen Waver, who has been with Coles for more than 35 years, officially re-opened the store with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The new-look store features a continental delicatessen with a ‘slice on request’ service, an extended seafood selection, a self-service olive bar, a large selection of cheeses, a ‘scoop and weigh’ station, and an extensive fresh produce area with fruit and vegetables displayed on ice.

Customers will also be able to enjoy a new in-store bakery with freshly-baked bread and the popular ‘naked bread’ option.

Two new manned checkouts were also added as part of the refurbishment.

Coles employee Karen Waver reopens the Oakleigh store with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Coles employee Karen Waver reopens the Oakleigh store with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The project has seen Coles create 25 new jobs, with team members set to work across the grocery, service and online departments of the store.

Store Manager Samir Desai has worked at Coles for more than 20 years and welcomes local residents to the newly-refurbished store.

“We’re committed to the local community here in Oakleigh and the new changes to the store certainly reflect this,” he said.

“Being located in a multicultural area of Melbourne with a high Greek population, we are proud to provide specialty Greek products such as Loux soft drinks, Tsoureki sweet bread and Koulourakia biscuits in store. We’re looking forward to sharing the range with our customers as we head towards Greek Easter later this month.”

Shoppers were entertained by the Manasis Greek Dancers.

Oakleigh Central’s Marketing Manager Lauren Pascale said the refurbishment of Coles was a positive outcome and beneficial for the shopping centre, its retailers and customers.

“We aim to enrich our communities and always look at ways to enhance the shopping experience,” she said.

“Oakleigh Central is proud to support and work with our major retailer Coles, and we value the continued contribution they make to our Oakleigh community.”

Coles at Oakleigh Central shopping centre is open daily from 7am – 11pm.

Oakleigh property values continue to rise

Oakleigh property values continue to rise

The Oakleigh property market performed well over the summer period and is showing no signs of slowing down, according to a local real estate agent.

Low stock levels and a growing number of buyers have showed continued demand for homes in the area, with house prices generally on the increase.

Woodards Oakleigh property consultant Frank Scalise said house sales in Oakleigh were solid, with buyers looking for variety.

“Oakleigh offers good value for money, especially with recently renovated homes where no further work is needed,” he said.

“And you’ve also got the opposite end of the scale, with people who are looking to buy and renovate themselves.

“So, there’s plenty of variety in the homes that are on offer, and Oakleigh has always been known for its range in properties.”

Frank Scalise of Woodards in Oakleigh.

Frank Scalise of Woodards in Oakleigh.

In recent months, Mr Scalise said he has seen a lot of second and third generation European buyers looking to purchase in Oakleigh because they want to stay in the local area and be close to family who live nearby.

Equally, a rising number of young families and young couples have been looking to purchase a home in Oakleigh because the local amenities are appealing.

“Buyers are quite attracted to the Oakleigh shops and public transport options, as well as the range of schools in the area. There are a lot of reputable primary schools around Oakleigh that are drawing in young families,” he said.

In some cases, buyers are enquiring about off-market and unlisted properties with some leading to sales, Mr Scalise said.

“Overall, there is a huge demand for land size and a lot of buyers are seeking out the ultimate family home complete with a garden, garage and outdoor entertaining space,” he said.

Mr Scalise said property values in Oakleigh are continuing to increase, with units selling for $750,000 upwards, 3-bedroom homes selling for $900,000 upwards, and larger family homes featuring 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and generous land space going for more than $1.3 million.

According to data from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), the median house price in Oakleigh for the December 2016 quarter was $1.175 million.

Oakleigh Central upgrade to improve shopping experience

Oakleigh Central upgrade works

The refurbishment works at Oakleigh Central include improvements to amenities. Image: Vicinity Centres.

Oakleigh’s leading single-level shopping centre has been refurbished and is set to improve the shopping experience for visitors.

The $1.365 million upgrade works at Oakleigh Central, which began in June 2016 and finished late last year, has improved the presentation and amenities of the centre.

The works covered key presentation and customer experience items including a full reconfiguration and refurbishment of existing amenities to modern facilities with a large format parent’s room, improved access and disabled facilities.

Six specialty retailers along the main walkway had their shopfronts and mall bulkheads upgraded to improve mall ambience.

Oakleigh Central Centre Manager Paula Jones said the centre was excited to offer shoppers significant improvements.

“We want to provide all our visitors with an enjoyable shopping experience – one that leaves the shopper feeling refreshed and revitalised at the end of their trip,” she said.

Oakleigh Ward councillor Josh Fergeus said the recent refurbishment of Oakleigh Central has significantly improved the precinct.

“Improved facilities for parents and people with a disability, in particular, are critical in supporting all community members to access traders and services in the heart of Oakleigh,” he said.

Cr Fergeus said keeping local amenities “fresh and fit-for-purpose” was necessary to ensure the vibrancy of Oakleigh continues to thrive.

“The retail sector is a competitive space – people have a lot of choice. A focus on amenity helps the local economy while also ensuring vital services are easily accessible,” he said.

Oakleigh Central upgrade to amenities

Upgrade works have given Oakleigh Central a modern look. Image: Vicinity Centres.

Ms Jones said a full refurbishment of the centre’s public amenities included the installation of a full-sized change table, which can move up and down and fold up against the wall, as well as an automatic hoist which can move across the room to transfer someone from the toilet to the change table.

“(This) allows disabled visitors to be changed and go to the toilet safely – doing so with the dignity and privacy they deserve,” she said.

Ms Jones said the centre would continue with remaining works later this year.

The centre invested in the upgrade works as part of capital expenditure, which was determined following a review of the Oakleigh trade area, key segments and onsite inspections.

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