Once upon a time being sent to Conventry meant social isolation. According to legend, the citizens of Coventry in Warwickshire had such a dislike for soldiers that no interaction was ever allowed between the garrison and the town; hence, when a soldier was sent to Coventry he was socially isolated.

The brainchild of Stephen Hepburn, Coventry Books is an example of how to turn a concept for a first business into a desirable destination where people choose to linger. With the help of Red Design Group, the gem of an idea for the children’s book store has become a specialty retail outlet with a loyal clientele.

“My original idea was to open a children’s book store as I felt kids were not really catered for except in an exploitative way. Book shops didn’t really want kids as part of the populous,” said Hepburn.

“But after considering our options we decided to become a full-service book retailer and to use the beautiful space at the back of the store to make a special children’s area.” Hepburn’s brief to Red Design Group was to design a book store to suit the demographic and location in tree-lined Coventry Street, South Melbourne.