Business on the move

EVEN amid an economic downturn, things are looking positive on the business front in Port Alfred, with a multimillion rand revamp happening at Heritage Mall and several businesses on the move and new ones opening around town.

THINGS ARE LOOKING UP: Chairman of Sunshine Coast Tourism Rick Pryce, left, and Port Alfred Wimpy owner Dennis White talked about developments on the business front at a tourism networking meeting on Tuesday night Picture: JON HOUZET

Guests at the Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) networking evening held at MyPond Hotel on Tuesday evening heard all about the latest developments.

At the event SCT vice-chairman Wouter Hensens also revealed that the SCT management committee had been working on a tourism marketing strategy and invited input from stakeholders after the presentation.

The overarching strengths of the area were identified as the beautiful natural resources, the wide range of tourism activities, excellent value for money and the large number of accommodation venues – 85, with a total of 900 rooms and 2 400 beds.

Port Alfred Wimpy owner Dennis White was asked to speak about Wimpy’s impending move to the old Beavers building.

“There’s no more doubt – Wimpy is moving,” White said with a smile, responding to months of speculation around town and on social media.

He said Famous Brands, the Wimpy brand owner, had compelled him to move the restaurant as part of a revamp, with discussions having started 18 months ago.

I’ve always thought of Heritage Mall as the centre of the Rainbow Nation envisioned by Nelson Mandela, and Wimpy was a part of that

“The brand wants the transient trade,” White said, which is a sure thing at their new location on the R72.

As for how the business had been doing, he said: “It’s been a case of survival as it’s been for a lot of businesses.

“But I was happy at Heritage Mall. It’s been like a home to me for 15 years. I’ve always thought of Heritage Mall as the centre of the Rainbow Nation envisioned by Nelson Mandela, and Wimpy was a part of that.”

White thanked their previous landlord at Heritage Mall for allowing Wimpy to stay on, on a month-to-month basis after their lease ended.

He also confirmed that “Mugg & Bean is not coming to where I am now. They are part of Famous Brands and we’d know it by now.”

He expressed confidence in their new landlord at the Beavers building. “They will add value to town.”

Taking a question from the floor about the availability of parking at their new location, he assured there would be sufficient parking, as some old sheds had been removed at the back of the complex.

See the full story in this week’s Talk of the Town.

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