Critique is an art form that requires a light touch, with a splash of irony and good humour to soften the blows.
Published July 14th 2016
Casual and Relaxed High-end Shopping, without the glitz
The Brickworks Centre on Ferry Rd in Southport is an exclusive retail shopping mecca with a well-heeled clientele, without being flashy or vulgar. In recent years, expensive boutiques at Marina Mirage and Tedder Avenue have struggled to remain relevant, and newer shopping precincts like Capri on Via Roma have failed to hit the mark. Not so with the Brickworks Centre, which continues to attract a healthy level of customer loyalty.
Located on a main road, with lots of convenient parking and easy access from multiple streets, the Brickworks continues to attract major retailers of food, fashion and lifestyle products. Freedom and King Furniture are big draw cards, as is the diverse range of unique specialty shops and the famous food hall simply known as the Ferry Rd Markets. This inspired combination of factors speaks to its continued growth and popularity as a relaxing destination, to shop, socialise or indulge in a little pampering.
Taking advantage of 15,000 sq metres of retail space, the centre managers have used experiences gained from their uber-popular James Street Markets in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley to guide decision-making.
The Brickworks Centre is now 10 years old, but the facilities are modern, the decor is restrained, and the customers ooze casual elegance. Notably, the roomy parking spaces add appeal, as even the most luxurious European sedan or sports car can be parked without fear of denting the paintwork. Yes, it is tough to find a bargain here, but the quality is exceptional, and this only adds to the allure.
HOMEWARES Major retailers include Freedom and King Furniture. Boutique homewares include Runway, St Barts, and Dune. Wheel & Barrow is inside the Ferry Rd Markets building.
CLOTHING, JEWELLERY, TOYS AND MEDICAL Retailers include Kathmandu, Kookai, Divine Goddess, Another Love, Heavenly Bridal, Surf FX, EJ jewellery design studio and a toy shop. You will even find Trade Secret and Chemist Warehouse.
COFFEE, CAKE AND COOKING CLASSES While the Ferry Rd Markets building is gourmet central, my favourite café across the entire site is set apart from the rest. Flavors@Ferry is a professionally run café with abundant inside seating, a cool and inviting outdoor garden courtyard, and a commercial kitchen that even offers cooking classes throughout the year.
Cafe Flavors @ Ferry
FERRY RD MARKETS Retailers inside the Markets building include Fine Fruit, Fleurus, Flour, Merlo Torrefazione, Prime, Quench, Reef & Sushi, Sevilo, Spendelove, Sweet, The Tea Centre and Wheel & Barrow. Popular cafes include Spendelove, Merlo Torrefazione, The Tea Centre and Sweet.
The building boasts many other gourmet providores, including a bakery, juice & gelati bar, and the exceptional Reef Seafood & Sushi which serves up freshly-shucked oysters and succulent seafood.
A SLICE OF LOCAL HISTORY As the story goes, Benjamin Spendelove (1834-1901) and his wife Ann (1832-1909) were married in England in 1853. They emigrated to Australia in 1886 on the Merkara with 15 family members, and settled eight acres of land through which Ferry Road now runs. Three of their sons founded the original brickworks on this site, until it was bought out by Southport Bricks in the 1950s. They produced high-quality red bricks that can be seen in historic buildings across south-east Queensland (1,2).
(image courtesy of Brickworks)
With the more recent urban gentrification of the area, this prime piece of Gold Coast real estate has undergone major redevelopment. The latest renovation, completed in 2006/7 at an estimated cost of $8m, transformed the southern end of the site into the landmark Ferry Rd Markets (3).