Retailer departs Hamilton CBD after less than a year

  • News
  • February 12, 2016
  • Elly Strang
Retailer departs Hamilton CBD after less than a year

The Girl On The Swing opened its Garden Place branch 10 months ago, following the success of its Lynden Court, Chartwell store.

The store makes and sells baked goods, using more than 300 free range eggs per week to make them, and also hosts decorating classes during the holidays.

The retailer announced that it would be closing the Garden Place store through a Facebook status, saying the decision to open a second store there was a gamble that didn’t pay off.

“It was a huge outlay for us to start in town and we took a risk,” owner Anj Jones wrote.

“Unfortunately due to people feeling intimated in Garden Place we have had so many people tell us that they would not come to our store as they didn't like the feel that Garden Place had. We completely understand that as everyday there was always some drama and the police were often called. When I turned up to take some items away our door was tagged and there was vomit outside our front door, which made me realise that what we were doing was right.”

Evening Everybody. We have had a lot of people upset with us for not reopening our Garden Place store in town after the...

Posted by The Girl on the Swing on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Hamilton Central City Safety Plan was rolled out in 2012 as part of a strategy by the council to reduce crime in the CBD and make locals feel safer.

Hamilton City Council safety manager Kelvin Powell told Stuff the plan had improved the area a lot, when compared to 2014.

He said there was officers patrolling the area, CCTV footage and a "no smoking" policy for Garden Place.

However, if the Facebook comments are anything to go by, customers still don’t feel safe when venturing into the Hamilton CBD.

One said on The Girl On the Swing’s status, “That was half the reason I never came to that store - I dread going that far into town! You know you are doing the right thing.”

“What a joke... Garden place may look different but still no way would I take my children through it!!! Let alone walk through myself ...Homeless people drinking mid day, fighting ..people spitting all over the show smoking more than cigarettes the council is full of it !!! it's disgusting great decision Ange good on you doll!” said another.

Residents reported that troublemakers hang out in the area asking for money, jeering at passers by and vandalising property.

Last year, RCG executive chairman said the Hamilton CBD was declining and not much was being done to save it.

“In Hamilton, commercial occupants have fled to the fringe areas of the city. Why should they come back and what is the motivation for them to do so? There is little motivation, and it is unlikely to see any resurgence anytime soon,” Keane said.

Meanwhile, The Girl On The Swing will stay in Hamilton, but look elsewhere in town for a new shop location. It’s looking for a shop around 30 square metres in size, but in a high traffic area.

Jones said in the status she hoped customers understood the situation and wouldn’t be upset with them.

“Closing the store was not a decision we took lightly.”

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