Brett Wortman

Grafton Mall faces major upgrade and rebranding

IT MAY be Grafton Mall in the minds of many shoppers, but in about six weeks' time the supermarket and shops between King and Queen streets will become Grafton Food Emporium.

Renovations of the mall, which will soon include a Causley Fresh fruit and vegetable outlet, have stepped up this week, with the start of construction of a fully covered car park on the King St side of the complex.

A spokesman for the centre manager, Regional Centre Managers, Dave Bokeyar, said the timetable was to have both the car park and shopping centre fully open in six weeks, ready to capitalise on Christmas trading.

"The car park is the second last thing we're going to have finished," he said.

Mr Bokeyar described the renovations of the mall as a total rebranding of the complex.

"We're aiming to make emporium the place to come for all things food related," he said.

"We can say for sure we've got a well-known fruit and vegetable seller locally - Causley's from Maclean - opening up there.

"And there's more to come yet. We have everyone we need already signed up, so we're not looking for more tenants."

Some store owners are less optimistic about the timetable for renovations and have concerns that the renovations are hurting their businesses.

The co-owner of the Grafton Mall Butchery Maurice Kenny said businesses in the mall have been saying their takings were down.

"We have to get information out there about what's happening," he said.

"People are saying all kinds of things about what's happening here and what it's going to be like when it's all finished.

"I hope they're right about the six weeks, because I know when you're building things those sort of deadlines can blow out."

Mr Kenny said the business trading in the mall will be staying.

"The travel agents have gone, but everyone else is keen to keep going," he said.

Mall businesses and the centre management are concerned about car parking while work on the renovations continues.

"We've lost nearly all the car parking spaces in the King St car park while we build the covering," Mr Bokeyar said.

"We hope the good people of Grafton can do the right thing for the businesses and customers by not parking in the remaining car park all day."

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