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​Succeeding in the suburbs

Creating destination food and beverage outlets



Long term investment with development potential/new-zealand/en-gb/news/916/long-term-investment-with-development-potentialAUCKLANDLong term investment with development potential
Former Fire Station on high profile corner site/new-zealand/en-gb/news/915/former-fire-station-on-high-profile-corner-siteCHRISTCHURCHFormer Fire Station on high profile corner site

jll-retail-suburbs-loeuf.jpgFood and beverage operators who offer something different are succeeding in the suburbs. 

When a new café springs up in some far-flung neighbourhood, it’s tempting to question the choice of location. Will there be enough local support for the business to survive? 

But the appearance of a new eatery is often a sign that a suburb is on the up. 

A 2014 Metro article on Auckland’s residential property market by Simon Wilson put it this way:

“Want a clue to what’s going on? Look for cafes. L’Oeuf in Owairaka is a gem. You might think it’s a little piece of Ponsonby stranded in a suburban block of shops, but it’s not stranded at all: that place is a sure sign a mixed and engaging community culture is developing in the area.”

JLL retail specialists Ranesh Parmar and Pritesh Ishvarlal leased the property on the corner of Owairaka Ave and Mt Albert Road to L’Oeuf owners Jasper and Ludovic Maignot and Celeste Thornley. The trio have since taken the space next door as well, and opened a bar called Chinoiserie. 

“What was once a fairly tired retail block has been transformed by these new tenants, who did a lot of the fit-out themselves. What they’re offering is incredibly popular. Drive past on the weekend and you’ll see groups of people happily standing on the street waiting for a table,” Ishvarlal says. “They’ve now taken a third site in Mt Eden and opened Kiss Kiss.” 

Also succeeding in the suburbs are the new tenants at 93 Great South Road in Epsom. Fran Mazza and Aaron Carson’s new café, Hello Friends + Allies, has taken over what used to be a video store, in the block of shops at the busy Market Road intersection. JLL food and beverage retail specialist Anthony Barton helped them find their new home. 

“There aren’t many cafes in this part of Epsom, so the tenants were happy to take this space. What they’re offering is proving very popular,” Barton says. 

Similarly, when Briar and Jesse Wakelin were looking for a location for their next hospitality venture, they were very happy to take a premises in a small block of shops in Morningside. 

“We began by looking at what type of cafe we wanted to create. The name Peel to Pip is a nod to using the whole fruit - this is our ethos in business and is backed up by our sustainability initiatives. We knew for this to work we would be best to find a character building that embodied our style. We were fortunate enough to come across the site we did and this has given the brand a sense of legitimacy from the day the doors opened,” Jesse Wakelin says. 

“The thing that’s interesting about this trend towards suburban locations is that the buildings are often non-traditional, uninspiring or pokey little spaces,” JLL retail specialist JJ Hong says. “Character buildings are popular. That’s good news for investors. It means you don’t need a modern space or an expensive fit-out to attract a great tenant. Those concrete floors or that old mantelpiece could become part of what makes that new café unique.”

“For Peel to Pip, we picked a location where we believed local customers would be likely to appreciate our ethical approach and this gave us a solid foundation for the café,” Jesse Wakelin says. “The added benefit of having more parking available makes it relatively easy for people who are travelling from further afield to come to us.” 

“Customers are happy to travel to other suburbs to visit new retailers – so long as they believe the experience is going to be good,” Hong says. People enjoy the sense of discovery they get from visiting a café or bar that’s offering something new or different. 

“For those who are lucky enough to have a fantastic café within walking distance of their home, the experience is even more appealing. These days people appreciate being able to walk to the retailers and services they’re looking for. So if a great café pops up in their suburb, which they visit without having to think about parking, so much the better,” Hong says. 

Wild Wheat is another example of a retailer choosing neighbourhoods over town centre locations. It sells artisan baked goods from outlets in Howick, Milford and Three Kings/Mt Eden.

Owner Andrew Fearnside says rents are more reasonable in these parts of town, and he gets plenty of exposure for his business by choosing a premises on a busy road in a reasonably affluent area. 

“There tends to be more parking around these sites, and even some right out front, which is essential. Otherwise, people will just get their bread from the supermarket. The lower rent also makes it easier for us to sell bread at a price that’s competitive with the supermarkets.”

There are clear benefits to becoming part of the fabric of a neighbourhood. 

“You become their ‘local’ and people become loyal to you – they’ll pop in on their morning walk, and support you because you’re a small local operator.”​