Small business owners in a southern Sydney suburb are begging German retailer Aldi to open a supermarket in their plaza in the hope it will save their businesses from impending doom.
Dr Shoe owner Michael Pilman says for the past three-and-a-half years the Ramsgate Beach Plaza has been a “twilight zone” after a bank in the mall left and Franklins supermarket was replaced by IGA.
“I’ve been here for over 10 years,” Pilman told SmartCompany.
“I’ve seen businesses come and go within two, three four years.
“I feel sorry to see the centre downgraded.”
To make matters worse, Pilman says ongoing construction work outside the plaza and renovations inside are making it even more difficult for customers to access the small businesses.
Pilman believes the council hasn’t done enough to protect him and fellow small business owners from the interference caused by these works.
But these business owners believe Aldi could well be their saving grace.
“We plea for Aldi to come here, where ever there’s Aldi, there are people,” says Pilman.
“They’ve got beautiful specials, it’s got everything you need there.”
If nothing is done soon, Pilman believes the suburb’s small businesses face a grim future.
“This area is going to die completely,” he says.
“They’re building multimillion dollar apartments here.
“Who has $1 million here? Investors will buy them and rent them out in the summer months.”
Pilman fears Ramsgate beach will become a ghost town for the remainder of the year, making it even more difficult for local business owners.
Froth Espresso owner Andy Malapolis has also been struggling. He told A Current Affair in a recent interview the plaza was once a thriving shopping district but it now empties out by 10am.
“There is no such thing as profit here,” he said.
“It’s just paying bills and keeping your head above water.”
Another business owner from the centre, who wants to remain anonymous, told SmartCompany his business is also suffering.
“Customers just don’t come back,” he says.
He too believes Aldi could help turn the plaza’s luck around.
“Aldi attracts customers and its prices are reasonable,” he says.
“It will raise my business.”
SmartCompany has contacted Aldi for comment.