Funky hair salon, cafe, outdoor movies slated for Ayla op shop in Cockburn

Food Bank manager Step Jones with op shop founder Scott Johnson. Picture: Will Russell   d473054
Food Bank manager Step Jones with op shop founder Scott Johnson. Picture: Will Russell d473054

THE transformation of Cockburn’s AYLA Op Shop includes a funky hair salon built within three sea containers plus a caf with recycled food, and plans for outdoor movies.

Several sea containers have been cut open to make way for the salon that will funnel profits back into the op shop.

The facility offers low cost food in addition to its op shop wares, and free hampers to those in need.

The services shifts about three tonnes of food a week that would otherwise go to waste and is largely self-sufficient in terms of its funding.

AYLA has an application before council to host a night market and outdoor cinema in its car park and plans for a 150-car drive-in at another location are also in the pipeline.

The op shop’s current location on McKinnon Street is the third move for the centre, which started in the home of Scott Johnson and partner David Metliss.

Named after their daughter Ayla, the op shop grew out of their desire to foster a sense of community similar to that seen in Ghana where they spent six months building a school literally mud brick by mud brick where the women were enlisted to sew the school uniforms and men to help get the school built.

“We live in a rich country but there’s no sense of community,” he said.

Mr Johnson said homelessness and the struggle to make ends meet was affecting Perth’s middle class which was feeling the effects of the mining boom’s end or had been dependent on income from rental properties.

“They do rock up in Mercedes Benz and still get hampers,” he said.

The new warehouse has been open since March and was fitted out with recycled materials.

Clothing unable to be sold is sewn onsite into reusable shopping bags and the London underground-styled salon will offering training days and free cuts in addition to its for profit cuts.

It received a $3500 grant from council recently to start a plastic free campaign in the community and is reliant on a volunteer base of 200 people.

“The caf will include 50 per cent recycled food and offer traineeships for kids to be baristas and get Hospitality Cert IIs,” Mr Johnson said.

Fremantle MHR Josh Wilson visited AYLA on Friday, August 18, and urged people to check it out.

“This colourful vibrant shed is a fantastic example of how community support can be delivered with creativity, common sense, compassion, and style,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve just marked homelessness week, which should always be an opportunity to recognise the great work of service providers throughout the Fremantle electorate, but more importantly to support their work in addressing the impacts and causes of poverty.”