The popular South West destination of Margaret River has undergone somewhat of a commercial transformation during the past 12 months.
The popular South West destination of Margaret River has undergone somewhat of a commercial transformation during the past 12 months, with US corporate giants joining several other business opportunists looking to capitalise on the region’s growing population and increasing numbers of wealthy tourists.
Among the recent arrivals are several tourist-focused ventures such as new cellar doors, breweries, up-market holiday apartments and new tours for locals and tourists to indulge in.
Alongside the growing tourism sector has come a corporate makeover of the town’s main drag, the Bussell Highway, which now includes new banks and a new chemist. And then there’s the Upp shoe shop, which would rival stores in Perth, according to a few of the locals.
The most obvious change to the town centre has been openings by US chains including coffee giant Gloria Jeans and Subway. The two franchises have joined Perth-based Dome Coffees in recognising the potential for their international brands in the region.
But the locals are stepping up a gear too.
Laurance of Margaret River opened its gates to the public three months ago. Laurance’s vineyard manager, Brendon Carr, says he was surprised with how busy the property was during its first silly season.
“We knew it would be busy and we set up staffing levels for that, but we just didn’t think it would be as busy as it was and busy for the entire day,” he says.
Mr Carr has contracted Margaret River’s Bootleg Brewery to make a beer called Aussie Blue, which will be sold through Laurance’s cellar door. The winery will also sell a range of tapas plates.
Among other wineries to open their doors for the wine tasting public this season were Barwick Estates and Swings & Roundabouts.
Other new faces are the Cowaramup Brewing Company, which opened its doors in October, Margaret River Providore and Margaret River Nuts and Cereals, while Leeuwin Apartments and Central Apartments joined the region’s swelling upmarket boutique accommodation sector.