Retailers working in 'ghost complex' call out to residents
RETAILERS at a Toowoomba shopping complex want residents to know they are still there, as the centre continues to resemble a ghost town.
The slow loss of business started two years ago in August 2016 when IGA, the major retailer at Bridge St Plaza, closed its doors and went into liquidation.
Being the major drawcard for the centre, foot traffic began to dwindle forcing other retailers to wind back hours or close.
There are only four stores trading at the centre, RHair Design, Born and Bread Bakery, Bridge St Plaza Pharmacy and Bhallas Indian Restaurant.
But the retailers are holding out hope that when Aldi opens at the former IGA site mid next year it will bring back crowds to the centre.
Bridge St Plaza owner Warwick Edge is hoping to move Aldi in as soon as possible but said there were always hold ups in a project of this size.
"It is not a straight forward job. Part of the property will have to be demolished and it will then be rebuilt closer to the boundary," he said.
"We are in constant communication with Aldi, and our builders and architects but it is a big job.
"I don't like giving guarantees on dates but we are planning to get it up and running by next April.
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"I'm hoping we are finally on our way."
RHair Design owner Kristie Sharpley said she and the other retailers were patiently waiting for Aldi to open and hopefully boost business.
But she said in the meantime she just wanted to let everyone know they were still open and operating.
"We have our regular clientele which are keeping us going and we feel so lucky to have them but it would be great to have some more customers," she said.
"Other than our regulars the centre is quiet so it is becoming increasingly harder to keep going.
"Our hope is that when Aldi arrives the centre will be refreshed and pumping full of people so it is thriving again."