“We started seeing performers and artists we’d often see at Hares And Hyenas pop up in other ways – like live streaming on the internet – a lot of them were just trying to break down that sense of isolation.” Crusader Hillis tells Star Observer, who alongside Rowland Thomson has run the Melbourne LGBTQI bookstore and performance venue for close to 29 years.

Reflecting on recent months and the impacts of COVID-19 on both the business and the community more broadly, Crusader continues by saying

“People have become more aware of those around them, more aware of their neighbours and starting to think about the businesses in their area that weren’t doing so well and have really started supporting them.

“We’ve developed strong relationships with the community over the years, and the community have definitely been great supporting us over recent months.”

 One service that has set Hares And Hyenas apart from other businesses, has been the delivery of books to members of the community that in isolation would have otherwise been cut off.

“At the very beginning of lockdown, we did a call out for volunteers to become part of our Books By Bike delivery service. We currently just had our eighth person come in and sign up for that.

“It’s an extraordinary offering from these people to their community, as they are helping others save money on delivery and things like that, but most importantly they are keeping people connected and offering us as a business quite a lot too.”

Crusader ends our conversation by remarking that, “Our message to the community remains the same. That we need to stay connected, to keep supporting local businesses – whatever represents a relationship with your community that you want to be there at the end of all this.”

As Melbourne regressing back to to Stage 3 of COVID-19 lockdown Hares & Hyenas’ cafe will return to takeaway only.

Hares & Hyenas

Ph: 9495 6589

63 Johnston St, Fitzroy.


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