Le­nard’s not chicken to be part of Port Vil­lage growth

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - HOLLY ROBERT­SON

POUL­TRY lovers will feel like do­ing the chicken dance af­ter the an­nounce­ment that pop­u­lar fran­chise Le­nard’s is to open at Port Vil­lage.

The re­tailer is the first con­firmed out­lets to move into a new space once the Port Vil­lage Shop­ping Cen­tre ex­pan­sion is com­plete.

Ka­tor, a Bris­bane-based firm, be­gan a $10 mil­lion rede­vel­op­ment of the site last year.

Once com­plete, Port Dou­glas’ main shop­ping hub will in­clude a Tar­get Coun­try, eight new spe­cial­ity stores and a big­ger Coles.

Lo­cal cou­ple Scott and Benoni Hen­der­son jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to set up a Le­nard’s shop in the com­plex.

“It’s re­ally the hub of Port Dou­glas,” Ms Hen­der­son said.

“Ev­ery­one, whether they’re tourists or lo­cals, comes in at some stage to go to Coles or the newsagency or to get a cof­fee so it’s re­ally the only log­i­cal place to open a busi­ness.”

Ka­tor gen­eral man­ager of op­er­a­tions David Smart said con­struc­tion was on track to meet a Novem­ber dead­line.

Mr Smart said he ex­pected Tar­get Coun­try to open at the start of next month and the Coles ex­pan­sion to fin­ish by early Novem­ber.

“Tar­get will bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to town - that’s what has driven the ex­pe­ri­ence in our view - and the feed­back we’ve had in the last few months is that it will be ben­e­fi­cial for Port Dou­glas,” he said.

“It will bring to the area things peo­ple cur­rently have to go to Cairns for and keep more re­tail dol­lars in Port Dou­glas rather than in Cairns.”

Mr Smart said it had been dif­fi­cult to at­tract some prospec­tive ten­ants to sign leases for smaller re­tail spa­ces but the cen­tre was a long-term project.

“It’s a very sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment for us - we’re a fam­ily busi­ness, the fam­ily live in Bris­bane and we’re based in Bris­bane - and it’s a very im­por­tant as­set to us,” he said.

“Ad­mit­tedly we’re build­ing at a time when eco­nomic cir­cum­stances are dif­fi­cult but we’re build­ing for the longterm.”

Ms Hen­der­son said the cou­ple, who cur­rently work in tourism and re­tail, had wanted to go into busi­ness for them­selves since 2006.

“We ac­tu­ally ap­proached Le­nard’s and they were very ex­cited when they heard I’d found a suit­able shop,” she said.

“They had been look­ing to come to Port Dou­glas for some time.”

Le­nard’s will of­fi­cially open in mid-Septem­ber.

Rede­vel­op­ment: Scott and Benoni Hen­der­son are open­ing a Le­nard’s fran­chise

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