Catering for the community
Kakulas Bros has operated at 183-187 William Street since 1929 when the family acquired the property from ‘Tinny’ Thomas, famous for his home-brewed ginger beer.
Evangelos Kakulas and son Stavros travelled from Greece to Western Australia in 1923. Evangelos’s wife Triantafilia and children Michael, George and Christina following them to Fremantle several years later.
This 1954 plan shows the original layout of 183-187 William Street. Kakulas Bros had the central shop with tenancies on either side.
Courtesy Metropolitan Sewerage
Stavros and his father hawked fish before purchasing a fruit stall in front of Fremantle railway station. It was there they came to know Tinny Thomas. After taking over the William Street store they continued to sell pots of his ginger beer together with cigarettes, cool drinks, ice cream, chocolate, fruit and eggs.
Today’s institution had its beginnings in the 1930s when the family branched out and started importing oil, beans, lentils, olives and salted fish from Egypt, Greece and Norway. Its main customers were Greeks, Italians, Macedonians and Yugoslavs.
Kakulas Bros in the 1970s. The letters ‘H.E.C.’ above the sign are the initials of Henry Ebeneezer Clay who is believed to have been responsible for the building’s construction.
Courtesy State Library of Western Australia b3800033_8
The variety of continental goods grew to include spices, pasta, tinned tomatoes and their own coffee beans roasted on site. Business boomed after World War II as immigration drove the demand for familiar food stuffs.
Kakulas Bros had the central shop in the William Street building before expanding into the adjoining spaces in the 1960s. Their range also increased. Nuts and dried fruits began to be sold as well as other health and organic foods. In 1990 Evan (Stavros’s son) and George Jnr (George’s son) took over the store.
Kakulas Bros’s old world charm and trademark open bags of beans and spices are still popular over 90 years later.
You know, after we came to Perth, we did business with Australians. But later, after the war, it became all foreigners. After the Depression, my father knew somebody who knew somebody in Greece and he sent us one drum of oil, one bag of beans, one bag of chickpeas, lentils, and we started selling a little bit like that. - Michael Kakulas
Brothers George, Michael )Mick) and Stavros Kakulas at their store in 2022.
© WESTAUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPERS LIMITED
183-187 William Street, Northbridge
With thanks to Michael and George Kakulas