In July 2021, Shire of Gingin councilors voted unanimously to accept a tender from Belgravia Leisure Centre to manage the Guilderton General Store. Belgravia Leisure Centre are a Victorian-based company who currently manage Guilderton Holiday Park on behalf of the Shire of Gingin.
Guilderton General Store has been closed for five months now. Belgravia’s plans for, “Major upgrades that will transform the location into a clean, fresh and modern beachside café and general store” were expected to be completed in time for the summer holiday season just gone. This did not happen, leaving the influx of visitors to the picturesque town feeling the same frustrations locals have been dealing with since July.
Kerry Enright, owner of Moore Than Gifts and Gaming and former manager of Guilderton General Store has had a stressful holiday season.
“It put a lot of pressure on us over the Christmas period – we were the only business open and were continually under the pump. We try and cater as much as we can, but we don’t have the storage capacity here as what is available at the store,” said Kerry.
“There’s a lot of disgruntled community members and visitors – the whole town is talking about it and I’m tired of fielding complaints, especially when we can’t get any information to tell them.”
The deserted carpark, closed store and graffitied sign — someone has voiced their frustration by taking a Sharpie to the “Opening Soon’ sign to it make it read “Not Opening 2022” — paint a bleak picture. In fact, if you Google ‘Guilderton General Store’ it comes up as ‘permanently closed’.
“It’s not a good look for the town, to have a business that is closed – it’s killing tourism. I’ve had people remark that they will never be back to Guilderton,” Kerry said.
At the time of going to print (12 January 2022), Belgravia Leisure Centre had yet to respond to queries regarding a revised opening date for the store.
Shire of Gingin said, “The Shire of Gingin is currently awaiting further updates from the lessee on the status of the building renovations at the general store, and more information will be provided to the public in the coming weeks.”