The Shop opens despite tempest

Gaye Williams from The Shop convenience store had the esplanade to herself on Monday. Photo: Mike Garry/scw806b
Gaye Williams from The Shop convenience store had the esplanade to herself on Monday. Photo: Mike Garry/scw806b

Gaye Williams’ convenience store, The Shop, on the Coolum esplanade opposite the pedestrian crossing is so tiny that some days you might walk past and not even notice it.

But on Monday, when day looked like night and the rain was blowing sideways, The Shop, was a shining beacon for tourists and locals needing the necessities of life.

Because of the driving wind and rain and a lack of customers, most of the esplanade businesses shut up shop for the day – but not “the little shop that could”.

“It’s not really fair on all the tourists that are here; they need somewhere to go,” Gaye said.

“The biggest praise today has been from all the tourists saying thanks for being open.”

And like the wind, Gaye was doing a roaring trade.

The Shop sells just about everything – except hot coffee and newspapers. And the only coffee to be found on Monday was further down the esplanade at McDonald’s and The Coffee Club, and the nearest open newsagent was in Birtwill Street

“We got newspaper rage today, big time,” Gaye said.

Meanwhile, despite owner Watpac gaining council approval on April 1 to redevelop the shopping precinct, if rumours are to be believed, a start is a long way off – at least under Watpac’s ownership.

Current tenants have had their leases extended until January 31 next year and the “strong word” is the site is on the market for $16 million.

One tenant, who had heard the rumour, said $16 million seemed “a bit cheap” for the esplanade site, which runs from Beach Road up to, but not including, the pharmacy.

“I asked one agent and he said ‘more like $30 million’.”

But Watpac general manager (properties) Rob McDonald said the site was “definitely not on the market”.

Mr McDonald said the redevelopment was expected to commence in the new year when the leases expired.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

The latest lease extensions will allow tenants to trade through the normally lucrative summer holiday period.

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