Subiaco rejuvenation brings optimism to business owners


Witch’s Cauldron manager of 20 years Darren O’Brien.
Witch’s Cauldron manager of 20 years Darren O’Brien.

NETWORK 10 Perth will move in to Subiaco later this year but the stalwarts like Witch’s Cauldron and Table Culture have weathered the tough times and are optimistic about the future of the retail and entertainment precinct.

WITCH’S Cauldron has been an iconic part of Subiaco for more than 40 years, which manager Darren O’Brien credits to owners Tanis and Geoff Gosling and their ability to change with the trends.

He said he had worked at the restaurant for more than 20 years and had stayed because of its success and the location.

Mr O’Brien said Subiaco had changed over the years but it would never lose its charm.

He said losing major drawcards like the markets hurt Subiaco and so would losing the football.

“You have to move with the times and Subiaco are starting to make those changes now,” he said.

Mr O’Brien said Subiaco had something alluring about it that many other places did not have.

“Things are looking better, we are hearing more talk about Subiaco again,” he said.

Long-standing Subiaco retailer Table Culture opened more than 10 years ago.

Owner Emma McCarthy said the retail environment had been challenging for everyone to navigate over the past few years, not just in Subiaco.

However, the community and a good relationship with her landlord had been the key to staying.

Ms McCarthy said a few greedy landlords, bad press, a council that failed to plan and businesses that failed to evolve had made it tougher for Subiaco.

“On the flipside we have been given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves our way, not try to emulate other suburbs, but work at creating something that is unique to Subiaco, and that takes times and a big attitude shift,” she said.

“Vibrancy has layers including the X-factor that can’t be manufactured. We have definitely lost some of those layers, but we are building them back up and in the meantime there are some excellent retail and hospitality businesses that continue to impress me as a consumer.”

Network Ten Perth will move their studios to Subiaco later this year to the Subiaco XO precinct.

Network Ten general manager of Perth Frank Filosi said the network had looked at several sights on the fringe of the CBD before settling on Subiaco.

“The daily business activities across the various areas of the station, from news, sales and publicity through to the amenities and public transport options for our staff, were all considerations in selecting the location,” he said.

“Subiaco is an excellent location of businesses and a wonderful environment for people to work in.”

Kavita Kumar, who co-owns Perth Baby Spa that is new to Subiaco, said the area was the perfect place for the spa and encouraged other new businesses to the area.

“We enjoy the relaxed and calm vibe in Subiaco during the day, there are excellent coffee shops around the corner from us and some really cool small businesses opening, which seems to be moving more towards a health and lifestyle vibe,” she said.

City of Subiaco Mayor Heather Henderson said it was great to see new businesses opening their doors in Subiaco and see the confidence in the area grow.

“We’ve got some big developments and high profile tenants coming in, which are going to bring a lot of workers into Subiaco,” she said.

“We want them to stick around after work to shop and eat, and that’s where a lot of our hospitality businesses can come in. We’ll have new small bars and eateries like Mister Gill’s fish and chips, which has just received its planning approval.”