Pop-up shops hurt­ing busi­nesses

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Dave Scott and Tina Gra­ham from The Dog Box pub in Cob­ham Court are scratch­ing their heads over Porirua City Coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to al­low pop-up shops in com­pe­ti­tion with busi­nesses al­ready op­er­at­ing in the area.

They do not know if the pol­icy is tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent, but are an­noyed it has hap­pened.

‘‘It’s in di­rect com­pe­ti­tion with those al­ready here. What are they try­ing to do now?’’ Scott said.

In the Cob­ham Court area, sev­eral cafes and bak­eries sell cof­fee, along with The Dog Box pub and other re­tail­ers in the shop­ping cen­tre.

A pop-up car­a­van, also sell­ing cof­fee, set up this month al­most ex­actly op­po­site the pub.

‘‘We’ve had a prob­lem with the coun­cil for a num­ber of years. We’re here pay­ing the big rates and lis­ten­ing to the coun­cil talk about re­vi­tal­is­ing the city cen­tre, but we knew noth­ing about this.

‘‘It’s not bring­ing in busi­ness – it’s driv­ing it away.’’

Gra­ham said what hap­pened was not on.

‘‘ We’ve tried talk­ing to the coun­cil, but there’s been no re­ply. They didn’t even con­sult us be­fore­hand,’’ she said.

The coun­cil’s gen­eral manager of strat­egy and plan­ning, Wendy Walker, said there had been no con­sul­ta­tion with other re­tail­ers be­cause it was just a trial.

‘‘The [pop-up shop] own­ers still have to pay and they won’t stay if they don’t have the busi­ness,’’ Walker said.

The rea­son be­hind it was to ‘‘breathe life into the area’’.

Walker said peo­ple went where the best cof­fee was, and though she un­der­stood where other re­tail­ers were com­ing from,

had any­one could go in and set up.

‘‘ The more peo­ple we get in is a ben­e­fit for ev­ery­one.’’

Walker agreed it was cheaper to run a car­a­van than to rent a shop, but said that was how th­ese peo­ple wanted to op­er­ate. The coun­cil was not go­ing to limit how many re­tail­ers could sell cof­fee.

Gra­ham said the ex­ist­ing busi- nesses in­tended get­ting to­gether and go­ing back to the coun­cil.

‘‘ It is not just us who are an­noyed,’’ she said.

Gra­ham and Scott said prob­lems with the coun­cil had been on­go­ing for years, but re­ally started when the hours of the mar­ket were ex­tended from 10am to noon.

Scott said the pub opened at 10am and the car park was full be­cause of the mar­ket. ‘‘So where do peo­ple who want to come in for food or a drink park?’’

Gra­ham said peo­ple were ‘‘ us­ing our toi­lets and putting rub­bish in our bins’’.

‘‘I’m all for peo­ple be­ing tidy Ki­wis, but it is cost­ing us money. That’s why McDon­alds moved.’’

The Dog Box pays about $75,000 a year to op­er­ate from its cur­rent lo­ca­tion, but Gra­ham and Scott be­lieve the pop-up car­a­vans are pay­ing a frac­tion of that.

There are more than a dozen empty shops in Cob­ham Court.

‘‘It’s like they are try­ing to get rid of us,’’ Scott said.

Photo: DANIEL WHIT­FIELD

Dave Scott and Tina Gra­ham from The Dog Box pub in Cob­ham Court are scratch­ing their heads over Porirua City Coun­cil’s lat­est idea.

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