An admyreable start

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LONG-TIME shopping centre manager COLIN NICHOL ran and marketed WA’s first retail centre in a converted department store, in the late 1970s. It was in the original David Jones, opposite Perth town hall and was called the Haymarket.

MYRE has opened, after much anticipation, in the former Myer (originally Boans) department store in Kings Square, central Fremantle. Here’s good luck to them and a little gratuitous advice. Their enthusiasm and enterprise deserves both.

There’s a traditional format for the progress of such “market-style” operations. Alright, it refuses to be identified as a market, but the underlying set-up is similar. The routine is: open with a flurry and fuss, settle in over three to four weeks, curious visitors drift in and out, business variable, some tenancies move around or out, a pick-up toward Christmas, post-Christmas and “back-to-school” hit; crash and burn.

So, first advice: don’t do that!

Knowing the risks in advance and taking pre-emptive action, should minimise becoming “myred” in the distress and controversy that ensues. Enthusiastic, mostly young entrepreneurs are placing their hopes and dreams along with their products in the venture and in its management and the responsibility is very great. Urgency is the guiding imperative in developing the project’s full potential.

It’s not very difficult to open a retail venue of this type, believe it or not that’s the easy part—the trick is in keeping it open after the first three months. More than in any other type of retail experiment, success depends upon a close relationship between tenants and management on a “we’re all in this together” basis.

At the best of times, it ain’t easy and these are not those; shopkeepers need support, advice and encouragement, often in quite basic and obvious ways, even such as putting prices on goods (at last sighting, some had not done so).

There is one particular aspect of this experiment that might make the difference—the second level. Should that make good its promise of production, workshops, artisans etc, that innovation may create another (upper level) layer of unique attractions.

Meanwhile, the rooftop bar/café has unique potential but only that, pending how it is set up.

Catering for a particular age-group is something to be consciously avoided. If services, stock lines and marketing are directed toward a narrow demographic, that’s what you’ll get and wish you hadn’t.

“Activation” is the buzz-word around Fremantle these days, but the act of appearing is not activation in itself, that comes from within. The front windows, for instance, are passive. Myre must be bursting with action and light, colour, movement, sound, as well as novelty and originality. Most of that has been done before but it’s a matter of how effectively it’s done. It must explode out onto the square.

Let us hope this new arrival on Fremantle’s scene will be something to be “admyred” and its occupants happy. The concept fits with Fremantle’s future. Be brave MYRE, bold, strong, and exciting. Keep those smiles coming, be successful and help lift the city’s fortunes.



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