The nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus is claiming casualties all around the country and Ballito is no exception. Lifestyle Centre has announced a number of changes to their tenant mix.
According to Lifestyle Centre owner, Bruce Rencken, “Our aim over this period has been to do everything in our power to ensure that the majority of our tenants have businesses to return to after lockdown, but, despite our efforts in providing significant rental relief and rental deferment, there are many other financial, physical and emotional costs associated with having a business sitting vacant for months with zero income and no certainty as to the future. It is the harsh reality that many businesses will not survive COVID-19 and tough decisions have had to be made by many.”
Mexican restaurant, SALSA, will not re-open its doors. “Unfortunately, the SALSA brand just never gained sufficient traction in Ballito and the decision was made to close.” said Rencken. “We have been hard at work during the lockdown period on the development of a new Asian Fusion restaurant – this will open its doors when the time is right!”
TOAST, the popular local coffee shop adjacent to WOOLWORTHS, has undergone a change of ownership. “The Stuart family joined Lifestyle Centre in August 2017, creating and building the TOAST brand with enthusiasm and dedication. They are absolutely passionate about the brand, the business and their team,” explained Rencken. “In order to ensure a seamless transition, Kerry and Deryn will be very involved in the hand-over and Kerry will be continuing in her role at TOAST for the next 3 months.” TOAST will commence trading again on Tuesday, 14 July 2020.
Clothing retailer, Ackermans, one of the initial tenants at Lifestyle Centre, having traded there for 17 years, closed their doors in June. In addition, both Imbizo Art Gallery and Kids Emporium will cease trading at the end of July 2020.
Luckily for Ballito, the bad news is balanced with some good news of three new tenants at Lifestyle Centre. “It is with great excitement that we welcome back MRP HOME, another ‘founder tenant’ returning home to Lifestyle Centre, with the aim of opening their doors for trade in the last week of August 2020,” announced Rencken. “Also joining us will be Wonki Ware, the handmade and beautifully imperfect ceramics from Di Marshall, opening a concept store in the area previously occupied by Imbizo Art. MUZE, the local fashion brand created by Wendy van Zyl, will make their new home in the shop previously occupied by Kids Emporium. ‘Style’ is one of the major categories that we play in, encompassing both fashion and homeware, so we are thrilled to offer our customers more choice. And we’re working on a few more, as there is still a demand from retailers to be in Ballito, and in particular for the open-air environment and convenience that Lifestyle Centre offers”.
Subsequent to the reopening of the construction sector, preparation work is also underway for The Studios, opposite Weylandts, while the TOPS liquor store is set to treble in size, as reconstruction takes place in the vacant space adjoining the existing store. “Covid-19 has caused us to adjust the timing of The Studios project, but it remains important to us to open the flow throughout the entire centre, so we have made the decision to proceed,” explained Rencken. “The planned extension and revamp of the TOPS has also begun; a very exciting project to create a large, spacious and beautifully designed liquor store. We will be extensively expanding our range and offering in wine, whiskey, gins, tequilas and rums and introducing new categories such as biltong, cigars and chocolates. Our aim is to transform Ballito’s liquor shopping into a world class experience”.