Businesses thrive at new complex
Kirkwood Shopping Centre has been up and running for three months, but how are the small businesses going since they took the plunge on an untried centre?
We spoke to three small business owners at the centre. They all agree the location has attracted a steady flow of customers.
RENEE and Ron Craig thought carefully about launching a new bakery at Kirkwood to go with their established shop at Sun Valley.
In the end, their logic was simple.
"We could see that Gladstone was basically growing out that way," Mrs Craig said.
The population and building boom on Gladstone's southern outskirts convinced the Craigs to take the plunge at Kirkwood Shopping Centre.
Mrs Craig said the first three months of business had gone well.
"We've been quite happy. We had a pretty good start," she said.
She said there was a fast start when the centre opened, before things backed off slightly. Now the numbers are moving along nicely.
The Craigs were hoping their reputation would "follow" them from Sun Valley to Kirkwood and that appears to have happened.
INDIAN Balti owner Ajay Bakshi said his restaurant had seen a surge of customers he hadn't predicted. That's the good news.
As Mr Bakshi explains, the start-up wasn't always smooth sailing.
"We had a lot of hiccups initially," he said.
"The biggest was Telstra."
As reported in May, several businesses had issues with connecting telephones and internet. They were forced to operate for some time without a landline.
Those problems were overcome and Mr Bakshi said the customers had arrived in droves. The restaurant had been selling roughly double the number of meals each day he initially forecast.
"I think this is going to be the central point of Gladstone," he said of Kirkwood.
While he believes the restaurant's strong start has been due to its quality food, good service, prices and great tasting food, Mr Bakshi sees the location as one of his best ingredients.
Apart from being easily reached from Gladstone, he said customers in Boyne-Tannum could easily access the centre via the new Kirkwood Rd extension.
YOU never know what to expect when starting a new small business. That is even truer when opening up in a new shopping centre without a proven track record.
Divine Avenue owner Amber McLeod took a chance on Kirkwood Road Shopping Centre when it opened three months ago and has no regrets.
She came in with realistic expectations, and has not been disappointed.
"It's definitely been better than I expected," she said.
She originally planned to launch her store at a different location, but saw too many advantages in the new shopping centre.
Ms McLeod believes there are several reasons why her business has done well at Kirkwood. The traffic flow is generally good near the centre and there is plenty of parking.
She believes another advantage is the "clean" feel of the centre, which makes it more enticing for shoppers.