Crowds swarm re­vamped Bay­fair

Queue starts be­fore dawn at makeup store

Bay of Plenty Times - - Local News - Bay of Plenty Times

QKiri Gille­spie

ueues for Bay­fair Shop­ping Cen­tre’s new­est shops stretched from near the cen­tre of the mall, out the front door, and wrapped around the side of the en­trance as the first stage of its $115m re­de­vel­op­ment was re­vealed.

By sun­rise, a line of hun­dreds of mostly young women — many in the rain — had formed out­side new store Mecca Max­ima.

The big brand makeup out­let was one of more than 30 re­tail­ers, in­clud­ing Peter Alexan­der and Cot­ton On Mega, that opened their doors for the first time as part of yes­ter­day’s events.

A bless­ing was held at 7am, with iwi mem­bers lead­ing a crowd of about 40 in­vestors, man­agers, and team mem­bers through prayer down the wide av­enues of the new sec­tion of mall.

Chil­dren from Te Kura o Mat­apihi per­formed with song and dance be­fore speeches from dig­ni­taries and those in­volved in the project.

Mean­while, Mount Maun­ganui woman Caro Wor­thing­ton se­cured the first spot in the in­creas­ingly ex­pand­ing line of shop­pers.

Mecca Max­ima, like oth­ers, was not ex­pected to open un­til 9am but Wor­thing­ton was up at 5.30am to en­sure her po­si­tion.

When asked why, “Be­cause, fi­nally!

“I’m very ex­cited. That’s why I’m first in line,” she said. she replied:

“We moved down from Auck­land where we fi­nally got it, but moved. So when­ever some­one we knew, or one of us, would go over­seas we al­ways put in an or­der or try to stock up.”

Jes­sica Jones, third in line, agreed. “It’s about time, though, for Bay­fair to start grow­ing.”

Other new shops to Bay­fair in­clude Dotti, Mac­pac, Port­mans, Jac­qui E and The Cos­metic Clinic.

Rodd & Gunn and Max have ex­panded into larger stores and Mer­ric, The Cof­fee Club and Domi­nos have re­turned. A new Count­down su­per­mar­ket also opened.

Shop­per Cathrine Grob­ler, 18, said it was re­ally cool there were so many stores to draw peo­ple to Bay­fair and keep them there “rather than com­ing here for one thing then go­ing into town for some­thing else”.

By 8am, the Mecca Max­ima queue stretched into the carpark be­fore wrap­ping around the side of the build­ing.

The open­ing was blamed on so­cial me­dia for heavy traf­fic de­lays af­fect­ing com­muters on State High­way 29A, Maun­ganui Rd and Hewletts Rd but po­lice said they were not aware of any traf­fic is­sues in the area other than a bro­ken-down van.

Iso­bel Heas­man said she did not mind wait­ing in line be­cause she was a big fan. Friend Han­nah Booth has agreed, say­ing Bay­fair’s new stage and new shops were a good thing.

Bay­fair’s cen­tre man­ager, Steve Elling­ford, told the he was im­mensely proud to given his cus­tomers “what want”.

“They want more fash­ion, more din­ing and more life­style. So this is a lit­tle bit of a mile­stone.”

A din­ing area and cinema com­plex are ex­pected as part of the re­de­vel­op­ment’s next stages.

AMP prop­erty gen­eral man­ager Mark Kirk­land paid tribute to lo­cal iwi Nga¯i te Rangi for its in­volve­ment. have they

Pho­tos / Kiri Gille­spie

Bay­fair’s cen­tre man­ager, Steve Elling­ford, is im­mensely proud to have given cus­tomers “what they want”. In­set: Iso­bel Heas­man, 18, and Han­nah Booth, 18, are happy to wait in line to ex­plore Mecca Max­ima.

Chil­dren from Te Kura o Mat­apihi per­form at the of­fi­cial bless­ing of Bay­fair’s first stage of re­de­vel­op­ment.

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