Target in Pakenham is going buh-bye, if you didn’t already know, and 50-something staff will be “assisted” in finding new jobs. Or, as a spokesperson put it, “…supporting our team through this time as we work through achieving their desired outcomes for the future whether that is in suitable redeployment within other Wesfarmers businesses as well as with other employers in town or accessing their entitlements for any permanent team members”.
I hope the staff had some warning and time to prepare themselves. The jobs market today is not exactly an easy one.
And yet, the vast focus around this news isn’t the employees, but the “oh no, now we have no decent shopping in town”, to the point that rumours of Big W also closing are circulating.
The loss of any business can have a profound impact on not just people, but the community surrounding it as well; the larger the business, the more serious the short-term economic impact, usually. However, it also presents opportunities – especially when such a closure could have been predicted months, if not years ago (but we’ll get to that in a minute).
Let’s look what’s been happening leading up to the Target closure like this:
- Cardinia – particularly through the growth corridor – has been in the top ten fastest growing LGA’s in the country for a long time
- Main Street Pakenham has been shrinking as a business centre for years, even as the town has grown in size
- Pakenham Central Marketplace was built to be underwhelming in size and facility
- Target started closing stores across the country, or re-branding to K-Mart
- K-Mart built new in Warragul, and converted in Narre Warren
- Virtually every estate of significant size built in and around Pakenham has its own mini shopping centre
- The motorsport complex was announced years ago, just south of Pakenham
- The Pakenham Racecourse relocated to Tynong years ago
- Skyrail was announced.
- The cries of “Give us a K Mart” have fallen on deaf ears for a long time, even while proposals to build a (another) shopping centre came and went
- The State Government has still not yet released the land in Officer beside the Shire Offices for development.
Very little of this directly indicates that Target would close (the K-Mart conversions aside). What it does point to is that a development of significant size is brewing and massive changes are coming to the heart of Pakenham. I suspect the Pakenham Place landlord has recognised this, and is now preparing for it. (admittedly, the centre was old, and showed it, so it could be said the revamp was already overdue).
The Bigger Picture
However, if we take a further step back from this, there are other warning signs for other businesses, such as Council’s Amendment C228, which “creates the Pakenham Activity Centre Zone and updates the plans for Pakenham’s town centre”. You should google that (or click the image here to view), and see what it says. When you have, this might make a lot more sense.
- A new shopping centre with a major retailer (or retailers) is not likely to be coming to the town centre – watch Officer for that. (The drool from developers over that parcel of land could cause a tidal wave if their thirst isn’t satiated soon).
- Pakenham Main Street is going to be radically different in the coming years, and it’s going to become what a lot of people – especially those newer to the area – have been crying out for, and something that the longer-term residents may well mourn the arrival of.
These changes, for those who are willing to ride the wave, will bring an amazing array of opportunity, especially for small business.
For the rest of us, this presents a follow up to 2020, and a greater need to shop and buy local.
Still. Target will be missed.