Hyperlocal news about Melbourne's first suburb: Fitzroy 3065

optimism: the business plan


What makes a business operator decide to open in a location that has housed numerous previous failures? In the case of 350 Nicholson Street Fitzroy, three businesses have failed there since 2009. The Italian Corner lasted only a few months in 2012, and before that there was L’Angolo Italiano and Vessarios.

It’s now another pizza place called Feldman’s. I don’t like seeing businesses fail. I don’t celebrate it. But I do wonder how much research new business tenants do about the history of their new premises. Do they understand the social geography? Can they read the landscape, or read the psychology of the people who pass through it?

Do they understand why Nicholson St is somewhere that people pass through without wanting to stop? Do they know of this history of failure? If they do, why do they think what happened to others won’t happen to them?


  1. I live right there on Westgarth St, so I do wish them well… it’s great to have a decent pizza place down the road. However, you’re right… this location has not been kind to any of the previous tenants. That fact can’t be ignored.

    I assume they’d HAVE to know about the previous failures… after all, they have to scrape off the old restaurant name before they can put the new one up.

    At the very least, it seems like they have some people involved who might know what they’re doing ( and their web / social media efforts seem a bit more inspired than the previous tenants. That’s not a guaranteed win, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    Perhaps I’ll try their pizza this weekend.

  2. I didn’t mind Italian Corner as we live a few hundred metres away however i will definitely be trying Feldman’s. Pizze e Fichi in Kew was the best pizza in Melbourne!

  3. Well after this post, I went and had a look on their nice website. The prices looked alright, not higher than my fav pizza place on Johnson.
    So I had a go and was quite surprise to see a bill with different prices than the one on the website (higher by 1 or 2 dollars per pizza).
    They were nice enough to charge me as per their website but I won’t be going back to a pizzeria that increase their prices by that much in such a short time frame…. It makes their pizzas quite more expensive now than my fav place on Johnson and tbh they were not even as good.

    Good luck to the business though, the staff seems nice.

  4. I think it is a bit irresponsible to be making assumptions about the owners of this business. You are assuming that the business partners have not done their research and that they do no know how to run a business.

    One of the guys behind this business opened and operated one of the most successful businesses in Fitzroy for a number of years, has great business acumen and has one of the best pizza chefs going around in his kitchen.

    perhaps go on and check out the venue, and support new local business instead of calling it in to question as you have done. Wood fired pizza is currently having a new resurgence according to Epicure this week, with 4 new wood fired pizza places opening in the last month. Craft beers, like those being served at the venue are also quite the trend now as well.

    There are numerous successful restaurants in Nicholson Street, most notably Pope Joan and The Bishop of Ostia – just a few blocks away. Again, with the right team, the right marketing and the right attitude, there is a very possible chance that this business will succeed where others have failed in the same venue.

    As I mentioned before, if the locals support the business, it will thrive, and that would be your responsibility to do.

    • Pope Joan and The Bishop of Ostia are more than a few blocks away – they are 2 suburbs away. The culture around the East Brunswick section of Nicholson St is different to the Fitzroy section of Nicholson St, and the two areas have a whole other cafe strip, the North Carlton section, in between. It’s a pointless comparison. I also don’t think local support is enough to enable a business to thrive. It’s much harder to succeed without lots of passing trade, and that means passing on foot and stopping to peek in. Driving past on a busy street does not count as passing trade.

  5. Funny I should stumble across this, we’ve looked into purchasing the venue the last few months and we certainly did our homework. We were fully aware of the risks involved and of the collapse of previous businesses on that corner. Our reason for not purchasing had nothing to do with the history. Our thought was that the last 3 owners presented restaurants which were far from Fitzroy-esque.

    We went into Feldman’s last week and were certainly impressed; the new owners have created a cruisey bar/restaurant and a great vibe. Pizzas were exceptional, best we’ve had in years. It has the potential to become a hugely popular destination venue- just off the extension of the freeway and away from the Brunswick/ ‘Smith Street’ hustle.

    It’s impressive, hardly just ‘another’ pizza restaurant. Got to wish them well, it’s certainly worth the stroll down Nicholson for an evening pizza and a cocktail/pint or three.

    Hopefully the Fitzroy community gets involved, maybe the luck of the corner will change.

    • I’m making no assumptions about the quality of the food of the new business. Unfortunately, based on my observations elsewhere, the quality of the food seems to have little impact on the survival of a business. The ‘vibe’ is more important and that is based to a significant degree on the location of the building and the environment within it.

  6. Maybe you should try it- the ‘environment within’ is wonderful. Here’s hoping they prove you very wrong !

  7. I would agree that people should not make “assumptions” about any of the previous owners. Being “one” of them, we certainly did not fail, and if people did “their” research as stated here, you will find ours was not that in case.

    In fact, L’Angolo Italiano (not to be mistaken with the Italian Corner) was booked out almost every Fri and Sat night, and in advanced most times.

    Good luck to the new owners. Its a cute and happening little spot.

    • This comment is by the owner of L’Angolo Italiano, which moved to Moonee Ponds. They contacted me previously asking me to remove previous posts mentioning their business due to the excellent SEO of Fitzroyalty and the poor SEO of their own website. I refused.

      L’Angolo Italiano evidently failed in the Nicholson St location as it didn’t stay there. In any case the point of my articles has been the bigger picture – the viability of the location for any food business.

  8. Well, apparently the Moonee Ponds business hasn’t been a great success either and was shut down after few months of trading. Obviously arguments of accurate market research by one of the previous owners are not persuasive.
    As you said, Nicholson St is somewhere that people pass through without wanting to stop or the location is haunted for hospitality business…

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