MIXING apartment living with shopping precincts is being touted as the way forward for WA small businesses.
Lease Equity managing director Jim Tsagalis, who manages some retail spaces at Equus Arcade in the CBD, said building apartment complexes with retail arcades was popular.
"There's one on Beaufort St in Mt Lawley, Burswood, Belmont and Northbridge, it's more common to put retail below apartments," Mr Tsagalis said.
"I think we are going to see more of it."
He was speaking as part of The Sunday Times and American Express' Shop Small campaign, which encourages West Australians to support local businesses.
There are 209,000 small businesses in W A, which provide about 40 per cent of all private-sector employment.
Small businesses contribute $44 billion a year to gross state product.
There are 37 retail spaces on the ground floor of Equus's 26-storey luxury apartment building.
Tenants and Pulp Cafe owners, Sam Tseng, 26, and Tim Fung, 27, are paying $35,000 a year to rent a space.
Though it was tough to kickstart, the business is now "doing well".
"We faced a lot of difficulties, but making really good coffee is our passion," MrTseng said.
Pulp's open-plan, contemporary styled cafe has a homely feel to it.
'We want people to relax and sit around the counter, so there's no barrier between us and the customer," he said.
The Sunday Times is inviting readers to join the Shop Small movement, founded by American Express.
Show your support by shopping at small retailers and service providers.
Make a pledge using the Twitter hashtag #ShopSmallAU and on the site's Facebook tab.