The shopping centre has grown around the railway station, which is still the epicentre, though the east side of the tracks is where most of the busiest shops are located.
The chain stores (often referred to as “anchor tenants”) have maintained their presence here, and in fact new ones are moving in.
- The banks may have pulled out of many suburbs (leaving only an ATM of you’re lucky) but the big four (Commonwealth, ANZ, and Westpac, as well as Westpac subsidiary Bank Of Melbourne) are staying. NAB strangely doesn’t list their branch on their own web site, but I’d swear there is one near the station (see above).
- The three big supermarkets Coles, Woolworths and Aldi have branches. No IGA though – there is one in nearby East Bentleigh.
- Target is on the site of an old Coles variety store
- Medicare was here until last year; it’s now closed. But there is a post office and dealers for Telstra and Vodafone.
- Real estate agent offices abound: chains include Woodards, Buxton, Hocking Stuart, Hodges, Century 21.
- Flight Centre and some smaller chains such as Glick’s bagels, Cartridge World, Discount Lollie Shop and Paint Spot. Brumbys and Baker’s Delight also have branches
- And food giant of the moment Domino’s pizza, as well as Crust Pizza and Nandos chicken and Subway are all here, though other fast food outlets such as Maccas, KFC and Hungry Jack’s seem to prefer to be on the highways or major arterial roads.
All these chains sit alongside hundreds of individual retailers, who while they might compete, are probably glad that the chains are there to bring in the shoppers.
The newest chain store arrivals are Mexican restaurant Taco Bill’s and Chemist Warehouse, the latter taking up residence just a couple of doors from Priceline… they must be delighted.
I suspect restaurants benefit from more local competition, growing the local market of diners. I’m not sure the same can be said for chemists.
Despite the utilitarian warehouse design of Chemist Warehouse (well, it is in the name), I don’t mind them — though I’m always amused by their advertising. “Australia’s Cheapest Chemist” it proclaims, but if you look closely it actually says “Is this?” in front of that. So technically they’re not making the claim, they’re asking the question. Hmmmmmmm.
It turns out Chemist Warehouse is not a new pharmacy — it’s a moved and rebranded one. Perhaps not a surprise – the Pharmacy Guild has strict location rules preventing too many chemists in one area.
These rules were recently extended by the government until at least 2020:
Rules that restrict new pharmacies from opening near existing pharmacies will be extended for another five years despite numerous government-commissioned reviews recommending they be abolished. — SMH 18/5/2015
That aside, rebranding is a clever move. I rarely saw anybody go into the old chemist. The new one has brand recognition and more promotion — and already, from what I’ve seen, is getting a lot more customers.
I guess that’s the advantages of being part of a chain.
Other rail-based suburbs I’ve lived in, such as Murrumbeena and Glen Huntly, may not have the benefits of lots of chains, but it’s pleasing to see them still getting customers in, thanks to things like quality local cafes.
Hopefully all these local centres will continue to thrive. They’re so much more interesting than the malls.