Ollie Ashenden - synonymous with children's shoes

Melbourne Street

The name Ollie Ashenden is synonymous with children’s shoes in South Australia. As the only independent children’s shoe shop in Adelaide, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better range or a better fit for your children’s feet, which is why this retail institution continues to attract customers from all around South Australia and even interstate.

Purchased by Jan Elliott in the late 1970s and now co-managed with her daughter Danielle, this shop has been serving families for generations.

The history, experience and knowledge of the team is really what sets the shop apart. As Danielle explains, “Mum’s been fitting shoes for 40 plus years, and we have had a staff member with us for 31 years and another who’s just retired after 29 years of service.”

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We fit the shoes, not just sell the shoes. We can be a bit dorky in that way but we embrace it.

Named after the store’s first manager, Ollie Ashenden, who had already built a strong reputation in the Adelaide shoe trade, Jan, Danielle and the team continue to cater to the milestones in children’s lives, from first walkers to first school shoes and beyond.

“We now get grandparents coming into the shop and mum recognises them from fitting their children!”

“Jan manages the shop and I mostly take care of the computers and work in the office. It’s a normal mother daughter relationship but it works.”

As well as sharing a workplace, Jan and Danielle also share Audrey, a Maltese Shitzsu. “She goes between our houses and also stays in the back office with me at work. We used to have set days with Audrey but now it’s more fluid and often its Audrey who chooses who she wants to go home with.”

Danielle’s favourite thing about the job is definitely the kids. “I started working in the shop when I was 14 years old and in the beginning I was shy and quite nervous around the parents, so I just played with the kids. Some say I still do! Just yesterday I had a good game of hide and seek in the shelves with one of our little customers.”

A trip to Ollie Ashenden is an outing for families. “Kids love our little door and climbing up on the fitting platform. We’ve built relationships with families and watched kids grow up. We even have families that visit us once a year when they return to Adelaide on holidays.”

On occasion you may also find Danielle’s pet birds in the shop. “I rescued an orange canary from the front of Cibo and named him Tuna Mornay in honour of my grandmother’s cooking. When he stopped singing I decided to get him a girlfriend. Jazz is a yellow canary who chases him around the cage. Sometimes they make a guest appearance in the shop and the kids love it!”

Danielle now lives around the corner form the shop and has made a home in this pocket of North Adelaide.

I feel like I grew up in the shop here on Melbourne Street. I’ve since lived in London and Tokyo, so I was never going to live in the suburbs. Melbourne Street is such a lovely spot so close to the city.

Whilst there’s so much history packed into this endearing shop, you can always rely on Ollie Ashenden to stay up to date with fashion. In fact, over the years the shoe range just continues to grow.

“There is such a volume of choice for parents these days and we are constantly having to add more shelving to showcase them all. Parents talk, and at the moment it’s all about Bobux for kids just starting out and Saltwaters for summer.”

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Ollie Ashenden

168 Melbourne St, North Adelaide

Open Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Saturday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Closed Sundays and Public Holidays


Facebook: @OllieAshenden

Instagram: @ollieashenden