RETAILING – in its bricks-and-mortar form, particularly traditional shopping centres – might be in recession but it is not dead.
So says Zarraffa’s Coffee founder Kenton Campbell, who has unveiled a new $20 million headquarters south of Brisbane and big plans for a world-class market, dining and entertainment hub.
“We could see the changing dynamics in retailing coming,” Mr Campbell said. “That’s why we’ve been exiting shopping centres for over a decade now.
“I don’t think retail is dead. But I do think retail in its current form – in particular, the traditional shopping centres – is in recession and they need to rethink and reimagine what they are doing.
“And that really points very much to what we are doing here.”
Mr Campbell said the new Zarraffa’s HQ at Eagleby – halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast – and its bespoke Kiwanda Cafe were the anchor tenants of what will become Distillery Road Market (DRM).
“This is the most entrepreneurial thing I’ve ever done,” said Mr Campbell, whose Zarraffa’s Coffee franchise chain spans more than 90 stores in Queensland, NSW and WA.
“Kiwanda is Swahili for ‘factory’ and we have always had a cafe in proximity to our head offices but we’ve been able to take it a whole step further this time around.
“The cafe is our benchmark for what’s going to happen in the market, so that people can get an idea for the vision, and that’s why it’s a one-off.
“We don’t want big brands, we want the region’s finest market operators and we’ve set the tone for that by not complicating it with your typical Zarraffa’s Coffee cafe.”
An expressions of interest campaign is being conducted by Luke McGrath of Colliers International offering a range of DRM retailing opportunities across more than 4500sq m.
“DRM is going to demonstrate to the retail community that by understanding the fundamentals of the modern retail environment, a truly compelling destination can be created for tourists and locals and provide a business environment that supports long-term financial stability for operators,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr Campbell bought the 5.4ha site of what was an unfinished 17,000sq m outlet retail centre next to the Beenleigh Rum Distillery in late 2015 for $12.5 million and since then has been dreaming up his concept for “a space for families, a source of regional growth and a magnet for tourists and the global food generation”.
He has drawn his inspiration for DRM from the likes of New York’s Chelsea Market, London’s Borough Market and The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney and the South Melbourne Markets. DRM is expected to open in late 2020.