Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition)
The changing face of Woodstock
A “THIRD wave” of gentrification is sweeping through Woodstock.
The face of the Main Road is fast changing bar a few fronts of iconic corner cafes. But the owners are long gone. These stores are mostly run by Pakistanis or Bangladeshi shopkeepers.
But one business that has weathered the gentrification is Verbluns Furnishing Company on 195 Victoria Road, Woodstock.
Neville Verblun runs the business he inherited from his father at the same premises Verblun senior moved to when he relocated from District Six.
Verblun said they only sell locally made furniture from couches to bed bases. Despite some rough patches they have kept their doors open.
“Exactly like the economic climate in the country there were good days and even now... we’re going through tough times.”
He believes the influx of new apartments has benefited his business.
“When Durham Square (in Salt River) went up we did good business and before that when Harbour Lights (apartment complex) opened up.”
Another positive for his business was the installation of CCTV cameras to deter petty thieves in the area.
New apartment complexes like The WEX (85 Albert Road) and shopping complexes like The Woodstock Quarter (187 Sir Lowry Road) have opened their doors and contributed to the changing face of Woodstock.
While residents were pushed out by skyrocketing rentals the same happened to small business owners who could no longer afford rent increases.
The Development Action Group (DAG) is a non-profit advocacy group and has been assisting residents and more recently small business owners in Woodstock navigate the changes.
Late last year DAG held a community dialogue with small business owners where they were able to voice their concerns and find solutions to the mounting obstacles like competing against the big business moving into the newly developed spaces.