No dis­guis­ing the fact

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By ROSANNA CAN­DLER

AP­PARI­TION Cos­tume Hire owner Nigel Deven­port is usu­ally run off his feet at Hal­loween, but last week the Clare­mont shop was eerily quiet.

Mr Deven­port said in­come had dropped by 40 per cent since Land­Corp started road­works for the Clare­mont on the Park re­de­vel­op­ment in May.

“More or less the sec­ond they started dig­ging holes, busi­ness went straight down through the floor,” he said.

“We’re be­hind th­ese fences and piles of dirt and big ma­chines, so it looks like the shop is either closed or be­ing de­mol­ished.

“We no­ticed a fur­ther kick-down when they closed Shen­ton Road for 10 weeks. The fi­nal straw was when the seven-bay carpark next to us was taken over.”

Land­Corp metropoli­tan gen­eral man­ager Luke Will­cock said Land­Corp had pro­vided sig­nif­i­cant as­sis­tance and worked closely with Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire to min­imise dis­rup­tions as much as pos­si­ble.

“Once Clare­mont on the Park is com­plete, ex­ist­ing busi­nesses will ben­e­fit from the re­vi­talised area,” Mr Will­cock said.

Mr Deven­port launched an on­line pe­ti­tion called ‘Save Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire from extinction’ last week, which re­ceived more than 500 sig­na­tures in its first few days.

“I’m try­ing to pres­sure Land­Corp into pro­vid­ing some financial com­pen­sa­tion,” Mr Deven­port said. “That’s the bot­tom line. “Oth­er­wise, af­ter 34 years we may be forced to close.”

Af­ter 34 years we may be forced to close Nigel Deven­port

LAND­CORP pro­vided ‘open for busi­ness’ news­pa­per ad­ver­tis­ing, com­mu­nity fly­ers and ex­tra sig­nage to help Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire coun­ter­act a 40 per cent loss of rev­enue due to the Clare­mont on the Park re­de­vel­op­ment.

“To min­imise dis­rup­tions re­gard­ing park­ing, Land­Corp has also fa­cil­i­tated tem­po­rary park­ing ar­range­ments through agree­ment with the Town of Clare­mont and Clare­mont Lawn Ten­nis Club,” Land­Corp’s Luke Will­cock said.

Al­though Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire owner Nigel Deven­port said he ap­pre­ci­ated Land­Corp’s ef­forts, he said they were not enough.

“Cur­rent fig­ures show we have lost about $18,500,” Mr Deven­port said.

“Land­Corp told me they are le­gally con­strained about pay­ing money, but we need to be com­pen­sated or else we won’t sur­vive.”

Mr Deven­port said he had re­duced staff hours and not taken a salary in three months.

“The na­ture of this busi­ness is that what we make in this half of the year keeps us go­ing for the next half,” he said.

“Now we are go­ing into the down­time with noth­ing in the tanks. It is fairly bru­tal.”

Mr Will­cock said the Clare­mont Cres­cent in­ter­sec­tion out­side the cos­tume shop was sched­uled to be com­pleted this month.

“From mid-Novem­ber, Ap­pari­tion will have ac­cess to four new car bays im­me­di­ately out­side the shop,” he said.

Mr Deven­port said Land­Corp had told him they loved sup­port­ing “niche lit­tle busi­nesses” like Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire. “But if the op­er­a­tion suc­ceeds and the pa­tient dies, then there’s not much point,” he said.

Mur­doch Univer­sity per­form­ing arts as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Jen­nifer de Reuck signed Mr Deven­port’s on­line pe­ti­tion last Tues­day.

“Ap­pari­tion is cru­cial to the suc­cess of my pro­duc­tions at Mur­doch and by ex­ten­sion to the de­vel­op­ment of stu­dents’ theatre prac­tice,” Ms de Reuck wrote. “The busi­ness should not have to cope with this dis­rup­tion to what is a real ser­vice to the theatre com­mu­nity.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d445830

Owner Nigel Deven­port has started a pe­ti­tion to save Ap­pari­tion Cos­tume Hire.

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