Peninsula loses local business as fruit market closes
The unfortunate and imminent closure of the South St Fruit Market located in South St, Umina Beach, means the Peninsula will be without a fruit shop.
This Fruit Market has been locally-owned and operating for approximately a quarter of a century.
In that time, it has witnessed the substantial gentrification of the Umina and Ettalong suburbs, while providing a necessary food staple in the local community.
It is sadly the last of its kind on the Peninsula: the closest fruit market open five or more days per week is a good five kilometres away in Kincumber, or even further away in Terrigal or Tumbi Umbi.
Locals such as myself have been devastated at the news it will cease operations at the end of the month, or even sooner, forcing locals to the major supermarket chains such as Woolworths, Coles, or Aldi.
While Peninsula shoppers may not be spoiled for choice, we are yet again without substantial locally-owned and operated businesses, helping to keep the local community and economy alive.
On the afternoon of Thursday, August 18, store assistants at the fruit shop stated that the Market would be forced to close imminently, due to a recent rental price hike, ultimately pricing them out of the area.
There was no expectation they would be able to recoup funds and relocate elsewhere on the Peninsula, referenced by this post made by staff on Facebook on Wednesday, August 10, indicating a fire sale of all goods: shorturl.at/mwYZ2 .
In this fire sale, prices could be seen reduced by 50 per cent or more as staff were eagerly clearing whole shelves and product ranges.
This rental hike is assuredly unexpected.
The Fruit Market had only recently filled multiple staff positions serving customers at registers and within the meat and dairy delicatessen.
They had received fresh, whole shipments from produce and non-perishable suppliers.
While the buying and rental market again continues to rise, I question whether the owner of the building has effectively thought through this preposterous increase.
By pricing out the current occupants, they will be forced to re-evaluate what the future of the premises will look like.
The rustic-warehouse frontage and interior of the shop suits only the fast-turnaround consumer-targeted fruit and veg traders, of which there is practically no local competition or immediate alternative for occupancy.
Major renovations will need to take place to bring the interior up to an acceptable retail standard, and parking in this area is already highly congested, due to the Bunnings, local barbers, and other large businesses around the corner along the main street of Umina.
There is a demand and appeal of fruit, vegetables and other grocery items to all demographics, whether they are young, elderly, omnivorous, vegan, or vegetarian.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
My optimistic hope is that the Fruit Market will have the opportunity to relocate elsewhere on the Peninsula, perhaps in the Lone Pine Plaza establishment currently under construction along Ocean Beach Rd.
Email, 20 Aug 2022
Toby Wood, Umina