Nestled in the heart of Rathdowne Village, Carlton North, is a dream corner shop, filled to the brim with hand-selected organic and biodynamic produce, pantry staples, vitamins, and wine and beer. Clay Health & Organics has been retailing Market Lane coffee beans since 2013. The passionate proprietor and curator behind the shop is David Curtis, who told us a bit about how he chooses his wonderful suppliers, and where he likes to spend time on his days off.
Market Lane Coffee: You have an amazing line up of products and produce. How do you choose the suppliers that you work with?
David Curtis: I try and choose suppliers that will align best with the CLAY ethos and ones that will complement and sit well alongside the products that we already offer.
I also try and find small local producers that specialise in a particular product – producers that might only make one thing but have been doing it for years and perfected it – rather than choosing larger suppliers that offer lots of different products.
Customers are also great at informing us of new products or suppliers that they’ve read about or seen at farmers’ markets.
What are some of your favourite things about running a business in Carlton North?
I would have to say getting to know the local community, there are so many friendly and interesting people in the neighbourhood, and Rathdowne Village has such a lovely feel, so it’s always a pleasure to come and work in this environment.
What have been some of the most special moments in your shop serving people?
There are so many, but I would have to say the appreciation and gratitude that all the staff and I received during lockdown last year for staying open and for all the home deliveries we made to people that were unable to leave their homes.
It was such a nice surprise to hear the relief from people who rang the store to ask if we were staying open.
Where do you go to eat and drink and hang out on your days off in Melbourne?
I’m usually found hanging out at home on my days off but if I do go out, I like going to Mr Pietro or BIO by DOC in Carlton. Gerald’s Bar over the road is always fun too, and Above Board in Smith Street is great for late night cocktails.