Kiama’s landscape supplier and nursery, Burnetts On Barney, is preparing to expand into trade and DIY lines now that Mitre 10 is preparing to close its doors.
Despite being hamstrung by rules associated with the proposed amalgamation that allow only short-term lease extensions, Council moved unanimously to extend Burnett’s lease on the old quarry site in Barney Street for another three years. A longer term lease is expected to be considered once the amalgamation issue has been finalised.
The locally-owned and operated business will now take over the front section of the site currently used as a Council storage area, allowing room to renovate and stock new product lines, including building materials.
“Mitre 10 has been an iconic Kiama business for a long time and their closure will leave a big gap when it comes to trade and home owners buying building and landscape products in Kiama,” Burnetts On Barney owner Elizabeth Burnett says.
“Customers as well as other local businesses will all suffer if the only alternative is to leave town for these products.
“There is a strong ‘buy local’ sentiment around here and it is up to local business to try to fill the need so people aren’t forced to go out of town.”
The Mitre 10 site was purchased by Kiama Council when the Simmons family put it up for sale last year. Council sees it as a key strategic site in the town centre’s future development, giving access to Akuna and Collins streets.
Andrew and Elizabeth Burnett of Jamberoo have leased the Barney Street quarry site for the past three and a half years, operating their established tree care business Burnett Trees and more recently establishing a landscape and nursery centre, Burnetts On Barney. The businesses currently employ 15 local staff and they expect to fill two more positions this month specifically for the hardware-related business.
“It won’t all happen overnight but now that we have Council approval we will be able to stock some of the most often used lines in landscape and building related hardware and other product lines as customer demand determines,” says Elizabeth.
“There are plenty of every day landscape hardware products which we haven’t carried to-date because Mitre 10 has met that demand. Then there are the odd things like key-cutting, pool supplies and fly-screen mesh, which would be a pain to have to travel all the way to Shellharbour to buy.
“Since we opened the nursery a year ago we have been encouraged by local support and people are again telling us they want to shop locally and don’t want to leave town for their landscape and building hardware.
“The good thing is there’s never a problem finding a car park at our site in Barney Street so they won’t need to drive around the block twice and we can load product straight into customer vehicles which will save them time and money.”
The initiative is warmly supported by the Economic Development Committee.
Council will soon be actively seeking a new commercial tenant for the Mitre 10 site, as it will be some time before it is ready for redevelopment.