REVIVED: Pier Precinct has a unique, boutique feel
THERE was a time when Urangan's pier precinct was notorious for being the quiet end of town.
Today, several business owners say the area is going ahead in leaps and bounds and now offers a unique and boutique feel.
Hatch Design & Creative Store, Hervey Bay Hat Co., The Ibis Next Door and a children's clothing pop-up shop have all opened in the past six months.
Business owners in the area told the Chronicle the precinct was evolving.
They believe it's about to boom with customer numbers growing steadily.
Sundaes @ The Pier owner Penny Hawley said she sold a record number of milkshakes, smoothies and frappes over the school holidays.
In the first three months of opening, Hatch Design & Creative Store art director Nathalie Albouze said her store was "full on".
Newcomer to the Fraser Coast and owner of Hervey Bay Hat Co., Tracy Smith, believes Urangan's pier precinct is the best part of town because of its community spirit among shop owners.
One thing's for certain, all the business owners agree there's big things ahead for the Urangan pier precinct.
NEW CAFE DRAWS CROWDS
URANGAN restaurant BJ's at the Bistro has only been open a week but owner Janette McArthur says meal orders have been flowing in non-stop.
Over one two-hour period during its opening week the bistro served 140 people. The restaurant, inside the Hervey Bay Sportsmen's Club, launched a few weeks after Ms McArthur opened a similar business, BJ's Kitchen, on Dayman St. The mother of four said the response and support from the Fraser Coast community had been overwhelming. Now, the challenge is to keep impressing diners. "People have been amazing and giving us fantastic reviews," Ms McArthur said. "It's important we can keep high turnover, the meals are so cheap that turnover is what will keep us open." Chef Shaun Purcell is the head of the kitchen, looking after an all-day menu serving pub favourites. The majority of items on the menu are $10 or less. Among the five employees Ms McArthur has hired so far is Hervey Bay Special School student JT Hay. JT, who is currently working towards a qualification in hospitality, works for Ms McArthur every Wednesday. Ms McArthur, who has barely slept out of excitement since opening the new business, in the old Dayman St store, said she had a clear vision of good food at affordable prices.
URANGAN'S VIBE ATTRACTS NEW BUSINESS
WHEN Tracy Smith's youngest child left the nest to join the navy, she followed her life-long dream of owning a hat shop.
After packing up her life on the Sunshine Coast and moving to Hervey Bay, Tracy saw a vacant shop on the Esplanade and instantly knew it was the beginning of her business.
Three months on and the owner of Hervey Bay Hat Co has nothing but praise for the Urangan pier precinct.
"I've always loved this area here, it's just got a really lovely vibe about it, and when the shop became available and I thought, 'yes this is perfect'," she said.
"Since then it's just gone crazy."
She said locals and tourists frequented the area while visiting the pier and before heading over to Fraser Island.
"It's been so well received. You have no idea how many people love hats, it's just amazing," she said.
"I've had so many tourists in from Melbourne, Sydney, Germany, the UK, Brazil, New Zealand, everywhere.
"I've had people say it's great to see Hervey Bay is getting some good little boutiques, it's a sign we're moving forward.
"It's a real hidden little gem up here."
CREATIVE HUB NURTURES ARTISTS
NATHALIE Albouze wanted to see more hand-made products for sale on the Fraser Coast so visitors had something unique to take home.
After doing some research, she chose a stand-alone store nestled opposite Urangan Pier Park.
After some renovations, Hatch Design & Creative Store opened its doors in July last year.
Nathalie created a hub for local and interstate artists to display and sell their work and described the area as a "boutique end of town".
She compared the Urangan pier precinct to Pitt St in Sydney during whale season.
She said the area catered to a different market compared to the rest of Hervey Bay.
"When I decided this was the location for me ... everyone thought I was mad," she said.
But she said the markets and resorts were "really handy" and people were able to fly in and fly out for long weekend stays.
"And Fraser Island's a huge draw card," she said.
"It's (Urangan precinct) somewhere where you might bring friends who are visiting," she said.
rather than going to Stockland.
"You might come to Urangan, do a walk, have a cold drink or a beer, come have a look around and take something away that's unique to this part of Australia."
EXPANDING SUNDAES IS ON THE MENU
BUSINESS for Penny Hawley has increased so much that when the tenant next to her store left, she jumped at the opportunity to expand.
The Sundaes @ The Pier owner said she would get so busy during winter, customers were left with no choice but to walk out empty-handed.
Now, with the additional space next door and an outdoor area, Jenny can accommodate a higher number of customers.
"Over winter we've got more and more popular with the grey nomads because we have a really good coffee deal and that got them coming in," she said.
"I was actually losing customers on Saturdays and Sundays," she said.
"They would come in but we'd have no room for them and they had to leave."
Penny opened the ice cream cafe three years ago.
Since then, business has steadily increased and fewer customers are being turned away.
"It has progressively gotten busier and more popular.
"A lot of people say it's the next place to boom, this end of town.
"We have eclectic little shops like the hat shop next door... and Hatch around the corner and the landlord has just recently renovated upstairs.
"It's not booming, but we do alright.
"We get the park run on Saturday morning and the markets which brings people here, it's definitely picking up."
Penny said the last of the renovations was removing a large section of the wall between the two stores to make it more cohesive and cleaning up the outdoor area next to the store.
"It'll be much better when it's all open and we can move between the two.
"I've never sold so many milkshakes, thickshakes, smoothies and frappes, because that's what it looks like now, it's going good."