Why this iconic Lismore business is moving to Masters site
AFTER months of speculation, it's been confirmed that Spotlight will be moving its iconic Lismore CBD store to the new Home Consortium shopping centre in South Lismore.
The family-owned retail chain is pumping $2.5 million into fitting out the new store which Spotlight Group co-owner Zac Fried said would secure its presence in Lismore for the long-term.
Speaking exclusively with The Northern Star, Mr Fried said he was aware of concerns about the destination store leaving the CBD but said the move was a necessary reality for Spotlight's long-term viability.
He said Spotlight had outgrown its CBD store and needed to evolve.
"That's how Spotlight was when my father started it 50 years ago."
"It's been a great location for us, and it justifies having a really great retailer (in the future), but it just doesn't suit our business anymore.
"The fact of the matter is if it wasn't for Home Consortium, we would potentially be moving out of Lismore altogether."
Mr Fried said he had personally made several trips to Lismore to scout for a potential new store over the past 10 years, but took the Home Consortium buyout of the Masters sites in 2016 for it to come to fruition.
"We have had many false starts over the years of trying to find a new store in Lismore."
Spotlight will have the biggest footprint of any other store in the new Home Consortium store, with 2500sqm of space - significantly larger than it's current Woodlark St store.
Mr Fried said customers would understand the "black and white" difference when they came into the new store.
"Not only are we investing millions of dollars into the latest and greatest Spotlight store, we're setting up Spotlight for the long-term in Lismore. It's really about securing the business in the town for the next 30 years."
"For a town like Lismore that is a huge investment."
He said the store would maintain all its current staff and may in fact end up adding more jobs.
The new site is expected to open within the next 10 weeks.
The new centre will have seven tenants when fully occupied, and one tenant, camping and fishing chain BCF, has already opened its doors.
Two other retailers understood to be moving in are Petstock, a national pet retailer, and Choices, a discount variety store.
BCF is having an official opening on Saturday (July 28).
BCF store manager Grant Haylock said it had a Lismore store had been on the agenda for some time.
"Lismore really needed somewhere for their boating camping and fishing needs, instead of travelling all the way to Ballina.
"Finding the right location was a bit of an issue but once they found it... it was all hands on deck.
"It only takes us a couple of weeks to set up a complete store."
Elsewhere in the centre, tradesmen are still preparing the site for other tenants to move in, while two stores are finished but awaiting tenants.
It's understood the centre will open on a staggered basis with each retailer opening according to their own time lines.
When fully occupied, HomeCo has said the centre will deliver 200 retail jobs to Lismore.