Plato's is a store located in beautiful Salamanca Square, Hobart. The store has over 5,000 current product lines (which are forever changing!) and occupies over 200sqm. Plato's has 'something for everyone' and caters for all ages and interests.
Plato’s goal is to instill wonder in adults and children and to provide the opportunity to learn, be curious and access our creative potential. We aim to give our customers an experience out of the ordinary that is more meaningful than people expect when shopping.
The feeling of our store is a fun, friendly learning environment where customers feel at home, are free to browse, and to enjoy their time in the store. We aim to make shopping at Plato’s a positive experience for all our customers. Customer satisfaction is our key focus. We respect our products, customers and suppliers, and are open, honest and ethical in all our dealings. We aim to create a positive, long-term relationship with customers, suppliers and our fellow staff.
Plato’s aims to reduce the negative effects of its operation on the natural environment and to take a proactive position wherever possible.
Plato’s first opened its doors at 10 Salamanca Square, in November 1998. It originally was trading as Socrates for Curious Minds and was the brain child of two locals, Rod and Elizabeth. Their concept was to open a store that would inspire and intrigue the people of Hobart and its visitors. After opening 7 stores nationwide, Elizabeth and Rod sold Socrates to Australian Geographic in 2004.
A few years later Australian Geographic were looking to sell and fortunately the option to buy was offered to Kellie and Verena, thus they purchased the two Tasmanian stores in 2008. After trading in Eastlands Shopping Centre for 18 months, the decision to close was made, and Kellie and Verena's energy was focused on improving the one store located at Salamanca Square. In 2015 the tenancy next door to #10 Salamanca Square come up for lease, so the decision was made to knock a huge hole in the wall and double the footprint of the store! This was a massive game changer and Kellie and Verena haven't looked back. In 2017, a new online webstore was launched (which you are currenlty browsing!). This will enable our wonderful customers a chance to browse our huge range from the convenience of home and hopefully have a similar experience as to instore, where you just never know what you might find!
“We purchased Socrates at the height of the financial crisis and the GFC. This didn’t phase us though, we loved the business and the concept and we knew that we could make a real go of it. At the time it was all doom and gloom, but we were happy to be our own bosses, for a brand and a business that we loved”. K+V
In 2016 Socrates for Curious Minds was rebranded to Plato’s Wonder. Create. Discover. In Greek Philosophy history, Plato was the student of Socrates. Kellie and Verena were 'students' of the original owners, so found it fitting to rename the Socrates store after his pupil.
About the Owners
Verena and Kellie first met as colleagues, working for the original owners of Socrates. Verena started working in the store as a junior sales assistant in 1998, while Kellie was the first full time employee in 2000, where she studied her traineeship in Retail Operations.
Verena worked Part Time at Socrates for 5 years while studying Fine Arts, majoring in furniture design. During this time she had plenty of time to work (it was a Fine Arts degree after all) and helped to open several Socrates stores in Victoria, Canberra, New South Wales and Queensland.
In 2004 when Socrates sold, she moved on, but not far. Verena went on to manage a Tasmanian furniture and design store located in Hunter Street, on the other side of the harbour.
“When we stopped working together, Kellie and I would catch up most weekends for *fitness*, this was mostly an excuse to talk about ideas for other businesses and how we might work together again”.
Verena currently works part-time and specialises in marketing, social media and visual merchandising. She also loves to walk around the store with a cordless drill in hand, fixing the occasional shelf or gluing something together, in her other role as repairs and maintenance.
In her spare time, Verena and her partner Daniel are busy raising two children, Olaf and Odette. Verena also loves gardening, renovating and the odd craft project.
After finishing College, Kellie wanted to be a flight attendant. She’d heard that they look favourably upon people with retail experience when hiring, so she decided to apply for a retail job in the meantime.
Her first job was at Socrates, and she threw herself in with much gusto. Working for the owners, she quickly moved up to manage the Salamanca store, then staff training, then setting up other stores, then database work….the list goes on.
“I had always said to Rod and Elizabeth (the original owners) that if they ever were to franchise, I was going to buy the Salamanca Store. Sadly they never did franchise, but I still got my wish”.
When the business sold in 2004, Kellie stayed on to help the new owners with the transition including buying and training. In 2005 she moved on to manage a locally owned chocolate shop just around the corner.
Kellie dedicates her time in the business to her favourite jobs, spreadsheets, reports and databases. She’s very handy with the calculator too. She also loves to choose new lines and delete old ones, she’s affectionately called the ‘slasher’ for this reason. Kellie drives the business and is keen for new opportunities and ideas.
Kellie enjoys sport and exercise, and when not injured, loves to try out something new. She has active product testers, in her nephew and niece, Campbell and Abigail, which she spends her down time chasing after, and with her cats, Rasputin and Frankenstein. She also sits on the board of the Ten Lives Cat Centre and Phantoms Touch Football Club.
Erin: Part Time Sales Assistant
Erin has history here at Plato's. In 2006, Erin was employed at Socrates, working under Kellie as the Assistant Manager. In 2008 she moved on and was managing the Angus and Robertson Book shop, she then later helped set up and manage the State Cinema Bookshop. After Socrates' expansion in 2015 Kellie and Verena asked Erin to come back as a Casual Senior Sales Assistant, she is now employed Part Time, with her consistently rejecting offers of Full Time employment, mainly so she can fill the rest of her time product testing all of our Board Games.
In between all of her Retail work, Erin has studied photography and beauty + massage therapy.
Erin and her husband Luke spend their free time travelling, or dreaming of travel. If you see her in store, be sure to recommend your favourite destinations for her to plan her next trip!
Sam: Senior Sales Assistant
Sam also has a long history here at Plato's. Sam was first employed at Socrates for the original owners, and was the second Full Time employee. Like Kellie, she also completed her traineeship in Retail Operations and worked managing the Socrates store in Eastlands Shopping Centre in Rosny Park.
When Sam and her husband Kent fell pregnant with their first child Daniel, Sam took some time off work to raise him. During this period she also studied Graphic Design at Art School, then had her second child, Maggie.
Sam was also asked to return to Socrates during the stores' expansion in 2015. Sam has a creative eye and is often remerchandising entire sections of the store so that everything looks 'just right'. She is a busy lady and balances part time work with graphic design and two young children.
Both Daniel and Maggie have become great testers for board games, something the family like to play often.
Rhiannon: Senior Sales Assistant
Rhiannon works for us part time and is also studying Business at uni. Rhi has worked for us off and on over the years, and has now settled into a great study path in business. Always happy to help, she is a joy to be served on while in the shop.
Mary: Senior Sales Assistant
Mary was always destined to work at Plato’s. Three of Mary’s older siblings (plus a few of her cousins) had previously worked for Socrates, so when she finally turned 15, Mary knew the call was coming to come and work for us! Mary has now worked with us for many years in between study in high school, college, and now university, where she is busy studying business.