My Red Shop
662 Glenferrie Road
While Shirine Ho has seen the face of Glenferrie change dramatically over the years, one thing has stayed the same - My Red Shop, the local variety store she has owned for 11 years.
Shirine grew up in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, as the youngest of seven siblings. After high school, Shirine worked for companies in the advertising, trading, and import/export sectors before starting her own retail business selling souvenirs to tourists.
Some years before Shirine, her husband Peter, and their daughter migrated to Australia, Shirine travelled to Melbourne to visit a friend and was amazed by how beautiful Australia was. “I thought ‘Wow, it is so pretty. Peace and quiet, education suitable for my daughter,” she said. “More chance, more choice for my kid.” By the time she returned to Hong Kong, she had fallen in love with Australia and planned to move here.
The Ho family moved to Knox City in Melbourne in 2007. Looking to support their daughter through university with her retail trading experience, Shirine began researching shops to buy. She was “very lucky” to find the shop on the corner of the Railway Arcade in Glenferrie. Shirine bought the business from an Austrian couple who had purchased it only six months earlier, but were looking to sell as the wife had become sick. They have stayed friends throughout the years as the wife recovered and the couple retired, and they visit Shirine at the shop during the holidays. Together, Peter and Shirine built My Red Shop to what it is today over a decade later.
Shirine has a particular passion for helping her customers plan parties, choosing the decorations and helium balloons and party products. “It’s always changing,” she said. “Changing colours, changing themes, changing seasons. I love the party season.”
Working in the store six days a week, Shirine has established a great connection with the local community over the years. Her long-time customers often drop in just to have a chat and last Christmas, a few of her regular customers brought her gifts such as cards, chocolates, and handmade goods. “My customers are so sweet,” she said, smiling at photos of handmade Christmas cards.
What Shirine loves most about Glenferrie is the people. She likes to grab “good coffee” from The Little Tuckshop on the corner of Glenferrie Station, visit Cupcake Central in the Don Arcade, and eat her favourite cakes at Laurent Cafe on Glenferrie Road. She regularly buys bread from Bakers Delight, shops for shoes at Mountfords, and when she’s feeling like Japanese, she visits Tokyo Table for a meal. As a passionate swimmer, Shirine visits the Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre one or two times a week.
However, driving in to Glenferrie every day is a struggle. With no trader parking, Shirine and Peter have to park in short-term parking spots along Glenferrie Road or wherever they can find one. This means they have to move their car every 1-2 hours all day, every day of the week. “I see other councils give retail and trader parking spots,” said Shirine. “But not here. I don’t know why.”
Shirine reflects on moving to Melbourne with her family to begin a new life and business as a “very good decision”, and considers herself “very, very lucky”.