It has been a tumultuous year for the liquor industry, but the team at Lifestyle TOPS have ploughed ahead with their vision of introducing a world class Tops liquor store to Ballito, with the extension and revamp of the store continuing behind the scenes during lockdown and behind the screens for the past few months. This unique, spacious and beautifully designed store, over two and a half times the size of the original TOPS store at Lifestyle Centre, Ballito, officially opened its doors on Tuesday, 1 December 2020.
The existing 336m trading area has grown to 884m, incorporating an expansive wine department, walk-in beer fridge and intimate, interesting spaces for gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, cognac, vodka and international speciality beers and craft beers. But the new Lifestyle TOPS is about more than just the liquor. Not only has the range and offering of wines and other growing liquor categories been expanded, but new categories such as biltong, cigars, gifting, snacks and chocolates have been introduced.
According to Lifestyle Centre and Lifestyle TOPS owners, Paul and Bruce Rencken, “Our vision is to be an ‘experiential’ liquor store, rather than a ‘traditional’ or ‘conventional’ liquor store. Key factors in the floor layout and design of the store are convenience, flow, simplicity of shopping experience, extensive range and visual merchandising. We wanted the store to be on trend, with beautiful design and aesthetics, and it has been incredible to witness the artist’s impressions come to life under the watchful and meticulous eye of our designer, Murray Loder. Our aim is to transform Ballito’s liquor shopping into a world class, fun, exciting, educational and experiential occasion”.
The new store certainly appears to align with the Renckens’ vision and looks set to be an industry disruptor and leader. The attention to detail in the design, layout and execution of the various spaces is outstanding. This, together with the range and presentation of product, sets the new Lifestyle TOPS apart from conventional liquor stores. With its striking exterior and carefully considered interior, it is another feather in the cap of Lifestyle Centre, a commendable addition to the wonderful aesthetic and vibe of The Market and Eat Street. As Bruce Rencken explains, “At Lifestyle Centre, our focus is to continue creating experiential spaces where Ballito families and friends can enjoy coming together and connecting. We aim to be an extension of how we live life, the Ballito way. South Africans are social and gregarious by nature and enjoying a drink together often forms the basis of gathering with family or friends, usually accompanied by an excellent meal, a braai, or a sporting or cultural event. Lifestyle TOPS is no longer your average, run-of-the-mill liquor store. It is now a magnificent environment where anyone will feel comfortable browsing and selecting from a broad range of products to enjoy, simply for their daily tipple or for any social occasion, activity or adventure.”
Brother and business partner, Paul Rencken, adds, “Bruce and I are both entrepreneurial, positively wired and have an appetite for ‘calculated risk’. We are quietly confident in ourselves, relatively confident in South Africa and hugely confident in Ballito, and saw opportunity for growth in our TOPS store. We are no strangers to hard work, and the revamp of the TOPS store has been no exception, but we are delighted with the outcome and cannot wait for our local Ballito customers, and visitors from beyond, to enjoy what we have crafted.