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Sandpiper Coffee Lounge staff members Kristen Simcock, Celisa Cooper and supervisor Lisa Hearne. Picture: CLAIRE OTTAVIANO

Sandpiper answers to come soon

SANDPIPER Coffee Lounge staff are waiting to find out if they will have jobs this Christmas.

The closure of the Midland Gate Shopping Centre café triggered an outcry of community support this week when centre management forced its closure over issues of unpaid rent on Tuesday. 

In the 24 hours before the closure, more than 400 people filled a ten-page petition with signatures of support for the continuation of the small business.

Negotiations on the future of the café have been ongoing with centre management this week.

Members of the public became aware of the closure via a notification on the Café’s Facebook page. 

“Some of you may already know but after over 30 years of being a cafe at Midland Gate we will be closing down,” the post said.

“This came with much shock as it wasn’t a decision made by us and we are deeply saddened by this.”

The post has received 386 comments and 873 shares.

Speaking with Echo News on Monday café supervisor Lisa Hearne admitted the café was overdue in its rent but that the redevelopment of the centre had severely affected profits.

“We made it very clear to centre management that there needed to be some form of compensation because our sales dramatically reduced during the redevelopment,” she said.

“The last offer we had was a 50 per cent rent rebate.

“We’ve had lawyers involved, our books audited, we seem to do everything they asked but they’ve never come to the party to cover our loss of sales which far exceeds 50 per cent rent.”

Sandpiper was previously positioned as the first store on the right at the former eastern entry of Midland Gate. 

The eastern entry way was closed to foot traffic during the redevelopment.

“Staff are devastated, and a lot of the customers are devastated,  some of our customers have been coming for 30 years,” Mrs Hearne said.

“We know everyone’s name, we know what they order, they’re like family.” 

She said she was overwhelmed by the support shown through the petition, and even by the suggestion of a GoFundMe page.

“I don’t know what will come of the petition, it’s lovely everyone loves us but at the end of the day it’s financial and we’re not sure what’s going to happen.

“We’re in the unknown.”

Midland Gate centre manager Alison Broadbent said discussions with the café owners for the continuation of the business were ongoing.

“We’re working with the team at Sandpiper Café as they assess their options to continue trading at Midland Gate,” she said.

“Due to the nature of the discussions we cannot provide any more detail at this stage. 

“We look forward to updating our customers, retailers and the community when there’s more to share.”

Mrs Hearne’s mother-in-law, and café owner, Irene Hearne, was overcome with emotion on Monday when asked how she felt about the forthcoming closure.

By Claire Ottaviano

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

5 comments

  1. For what it’s worth I predict a new tenant will move in. Dare I think it’s already arranged.

    If Sandpiper has complied with every request from MG why is it so hard to make a decision.

    So much for loyalty and taking responsibility for revenue loss.

  2. How much notice was sandpiper given? Why didn’t Midland Gate work with Sandpiper at the beginning of the renovations as one does not have to be a mental giant to foresee the dramatic loss of income centre management imposed on Sandpiper by leaving them at the dead end of a ghost town corridor? Why did centre management wait for the new corridors to open before closing the doors on Sandpiper? Why did centre management act in the weeks leading up to xmas when Sandpiper could benefit from increased (?) pedestrian traffic during a peak trading period? If Midland Gate is trying to be part of the heart of Midland, why are they ousting a local, popular business that actually serves decent food? Why hasn’t midland gate taken responsibility for the impact of their build on trade?

  3. Mrs Glennice Jones

    Harry, I think you’ve got it in one. I will never shop at Midland Gate while there is no Sandpiper. Sorry, Coles, Woolies, BigW, Kmart, Best & Less, Spendless, Lotto Kiosk (Oh that’s right! they’re out of business too Aren’t they?). No more Millers, Noni B, Baines, Target, Home, Matchbox, Strandbags, Magic Hand Car Wash, Diamonds, Shiels, Carmen, key kiosk, Impressions (or is it Expressions), Midland Post Office, Probably I have forgotten others but I have Centrepoint, Bassendean, Morley Galleria &; Mirrabooka to choose from. So far Centrepoint is looking good.

    • Too right Glennice, and now with Spudshed closer to us than both shopping centres it’s Spudshed then Centrepoint in that order.
      Spudshed being 24/7 is a godsend, our vegie shopping can be done before the others open.

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