By the 1860s, Smith Street was a busy and popular suburban shopping strip, serving the working-class communities of Collingwood and Fitzroy. One of the most successful enterprises was Foy & Gibson's, a drapery shop that became the largest emporium on the street. Another magnet for shoppers was Ackman's Monster Furnishing Arcade. Smith Street was renowned for its furniture stores from the 1880s until the 1940s. George J Coles first variety store opened in Smith Street in 1914 and another household name, Moran & Cato, also had a presence on the street.