Longbeach Mall- Why all the empty units?

I don’t often go to the mall, for me it is the most effective waste of my time imaginable. However, occasionally I have a need for something and have to drag myself there. Many times I just walk from the eastern entrance up to pick and pay. On Sunday I was with D and it was raining heavily so we parked in the underground. We needed to go to Pick and Pay and the photo shop on the corner there so we had to walk through the whole mall.
What I saw was somewhat disappointing; empty units and shops closed. Now I understand that small businesses come and go: some are doomed before they begin. Life is especially hard for small retail stores in large malls. Rents are exceptionally high, however, there is a carrot dangled that says you will have access to a large crowd of people who are spending money. Longbeach Mall is no exception to this. I have had dealings in the past with the management and one is left with the impression that stores are there for the mall and not the other way around.
Whilst small stores come and go it is the larger, national retailers who are the life-blood of any mall, and a barometer as the the health of the centre. It could be the recession, it could be exhorbitant rents, dropping numbers of shoppers, bad management or a combination of many other factors. The solid truth of the matter is that it seems that Longbeach Mall is on the decline.
It feels sterile inside, nobody is having a good time, it is in and out. My wife is a big shopper, but if she wants to browse it is off to the other side of the mountain. It surely doesn’t need to be this way.
Longbeach is not the largest of malls, it is unlikely that you could spend hours browsing the shops, however, it is at the geographical centre of the valley, surrounded by the peninsula’s main communities, and I feel that they are missing a trick. We recently went on a family day out to the Strandlopper Restaurant up the west coast. Before getting to the restaurant we called in the local mall to get drinks. What a difference! Architecturally it was very similar to Longbeach, a tiled temple dedicated to the religion of commerce, but it was throng with people (mainly locals) who were having a lekker time of it. The central hub was packed to the back with people watching a talent show of some kind, and numbers matter in the shopping centre world.
There are definately the people in the area to support a mall the size of Longbeach, and it has all the facilities it needs to be a massive success. However, this is a competitive world and the Longbeach Mall management needs to do more than just open the doors every day.
Recently there was the Friday market, late opening and an attempt to make more of the mall. One presumes that the tennents complained because the market was stopped (who wants to pay massive rent only to see small market stalls take everyones money, right in front of your store?) However, surely there could be a whole programme of things that could be devised, and publicized to the local population (if management let me know I will publicize it through this web site).
The mall is important to the area, it provides a lot of jobs and small local businesses keep the revenue circulating here. It is time for the Longbeach Mall management to start working to make it a successful, thriving hub of local commerce, at present it is starting to look like a white elephant.
May I suggest that any activity involving the entertainment of children will get the place full of families. Be fun, be creative, be active and Longbeach Mall can fulfill its massive potential. If the mall does its bit then it is down to the community to get behind the center.
(Article link sent to Longbeach Mall Management for comment- waiting to hear tales of woe regarding recessions.)

2 thoughts on “Longbeach Mall- Why all the empty units?

  1. Russell Hepworth says:

    The following is the response from Longbeach Mall:
    Good morning Russell
    We understand things look rather dismal here at Longbeach Mall but we can assure shoppers that you can look forward to exciting new developments.
    Growthpoint Properties believes in preserving and enhancing the value of their properties through ongoing maintenance, upgrading and refurbishment. True to their vision, a planned renovation for Longbeach Mall has commenced and will be underway in full by September 2011 and is scheduled for completion in June 2012.
    We are thrilled about the refurbishment project and more details will be released to the public later this year.
    Longbeach Mall will also be introducing an exciting new major retailer in June 2012, expanding the mall’s already extensive offering even further.

    Kind Regards

    Janine Davidson

    MARKETING MANAGER

    LONGBEACH MALL

    TEL: +27 21 785 5955 Mobile: +27 82 9407400 FAX: +27 86 675 1832

    Cnr of Buller Louw Drive and Sunnydale Road, Noordhoek

    1. Russell Hepworth says:

      Further to the first email I received I was again contacted by Janine who wrote:
      “I was really interested in what you were saying about entertainment for children. That is my main mission as I realize the children/teens are starved for something to do here. I live in Durbanville and I’m new to this part of Cape Town and believe me when I say that I can definitely see there is a need for entertainment.

      If you know of anybody or anything that would be interesting to have in the mall or even if you have interesting ideas – please give me a shout. ”

      If anyone reading this is a childrens entertainer then please feel free to contact Janine either through this website or direct on the previous email address. Also if anyone has any good ideas about what could be done please share.

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