THE arrival of one of Tamworth’s most iconic restaurants has reinvigorated a retail strip beset by closures and extended vacancies in recent years.
Last week the popular Safari Club opened the doors of its new, larger premises at the bottom of Brisbane St after five years in the main street.
But the African-themed eatery is not the only new addition to the area, with women’s fashion store The Other Shop also opening last week.
The Other Shop was an online-only business until director Eifla Hardman decided to take advantage of the increased foot traffic the restaurant would bring.
“The location with the (Safari Club) and The Goodies as well means it’s just great exposure for the shop and the website,” she said.
“So we’re here for four weeks and maybe longer.”
The shops between Peel St and Kable Ave have cycled through numerous tenants in recent years, including a pool hall, Indian grocery store
and tattoo parlour, while the historic Regent Cinema has been vacant for years.
But Safari Club owner Elliott Dube said he had no doubt his restaurant, which now seats 130 compared to 90 at his previous venue, would thrive in its new location.
“You’re still going to get the African experience and we’ll still be generous in terms of our portions,” he said.
“We’re also putting two fully- furnished apartments upstairs, which will be African-themed as well.
“I think it will be very good for the street and you can see that with the new shop next door.”
Miss Hardman, who ships clothes – including her own designs under the label Alfie & Eifla – all around the world, said innovation was essential for businesses.
“We’ll be opening later during the week because so many women work and they just don’t get the chance to shop during the day,” she said.