Solar panels on display in Grafton's CBD.
Solar panels on display in Grafton's CBD. Nearmap

New business a vote of confidence in main street

THE venue has changed but the vote of confidence in Grafton's Prince Street remains as a major retail outlet begins to set up shop.

Last month The Daily Examiner reported the family owner of the Sportspower franchise was moving into the old Dick Smith building.

Within days that plan fell through, but Sportspower Super Warehouse owner James Reeves sourced another site at 137 Prince St in the old Awsum Body fitness centre premises and Buckley's Music Store.

Signwriters are hard at work preparing the building for its new branding, while staff at Buckley's are also busy moving their merchandise.

Owner of the Dick Smith building, local businessman Harry Hayer, said the original deal fell through late in negotiations when neither party could agree on some of the commercial terms in the lease.

"It's something that happens sometimes in these deals," he said.

Mr Hayer said his company had no short-term plans for the building.

Last month Mr Reeves, a local to the Northern Rivers, said his family-owned chain of long-standing sporting retail outlets in Lismore, Ballina and Coffs Harbour would offer Grafton residents a great range of sports goods at highly competitive prices.

"With the rise of the internet some years ago, we were among the first in the industry to react and adopt a warehouse format for our shops to ensure we were always highly competitive with price and service," he said.

Mr Reeves said the new shop, which incorporated the old fitness centre and Buckley's Music Store, would stock more than 3000 pairs of shoes and an extensive clothing range from all the major brands including Nike, Adidas, Speedo and Asics.

He said the business would create about 10 new jobs and was expected to open in time for the start of the Commonwealth Games.

Buckley's Music owner Craig Tisdell said the move, the fourth he was aware of in the company's long history in Grafton, was exciting.

"We're moving into the Blossom and Co building next to the Saraton, which is going to be a prime location for us," he said.

"Being off the main street was costing us walk-past business and even some dedicated musicians were not making the trip to where we were."

Grafton Chamber of Commerce president Justin James said the arrival of Sportspower, just a month after the previous business closed, was a big vote of confidence in the Jacaranda City's main street.

"The arrival of a company like Sportspower shows there is confidence developing in the CBD as a retail venue," he said.

Mr James said his own business, which specialised in business branding, had never been busier.

"We've had a number of new businesses and also some older established business rebranding to take advantage of the growth in the region," he said.

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