Owners John and Kylee O'Brien with their son Matt have open a new store at The Wharf, Get Fresh.
Owners John and Kylee O'Brien with their son Matt have open a new store at The Wharf, Get Fresh. Patrick Woods

Family business folds as stakeholders 'take action'

A FAMILY-owned fresh food emporium has closed its doors less than six months after a major relocation.

Get Fresh at The Wharf Mooloolaba has recently closed down, after opening in the revitalised tourism precinct in March.

The independent grocer, owned by John and Kylee O'Brien, had been the first new retailer to open at The Wharf in 2019.

The Wharf Mooloolaba co-owner and Evans Long director Dirk Long said they'd had discussions about 2-3 weeks ago about how the store was performing and the decision was made to close it down.

CLOSED: Get Fresh at The Wharf has closed down after less than six months in business.
CLOSED: Get Fresh at The Wharf has closed down after less than six months in business. Nicky Moffat

He said they'd worked closely with the tenants and they felt it was better to take action now, rather than let the situation get any worse for the business owners and others involved.

"We all went into it with the right intentions," Mr Long said.

He said there were a number of possible factors behind the demise of the business.

He said many people liked to have a one-stop shop when buying fresh produce and the absence of a butcher and baker may have been a factor.

 

CLOSED: Get Fresh at The Wharf has closed down after less than six months in business.
CLOSED: Get Fresh at The Wharf has closed down after less than six months in business. Nicky Moffat

He said more infrastructure around the precinct may have also helped.

But it was the emergence of The Wharf as a retail, dining and day-trip hub that he felt had had the most impact.

He said most visitors to the precinct weren't thinking about groceries, they were there to spend "half a day", dining, browsing for fashion and giftwares, or boating.

"It was a shame to see that (Get Fresh closure) happen," Mr Long said.

"We worked really closely with them."

 

Dirk Long (right) and Matthew Evans have new plans to develop the Wharf complex at Mooloolaba.Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily
Dirk Long (right) and Matthew Evans have new plans to develop the Wharf complex at Mooloolaba.Photo: Warren Lynam / Sunshine Coast Daily Warren Lynam

Mr Long said there were about three businesses interested in the vacancy, as well as a laneway opportunity set to open about November.

He said it was possible they would split the former Get Fresh tenancy, with one side feeding into the laneway.

He said the new laneway would become a food and beverage hub and he envisaged about 5-6 different vendors operating, including a sandwich bar, sushi outlet and more.

 

AVAILABLE: A laneway tenancy is available at The Wharf.
AVAILABLE: A laneway tenancy is available at The Wharf. Nicky Moffat

He said the street food-style laneway would offer quick food at a cheaper price point, catering to local workers and younger crowds which he'd noticed flocking to the precinct recently.

"Ideally that'll open in November," Mr Long said.

As for the shop tenancy, which was already fitted out, he thought a children's clothing or giftwares offering could work well.

A statement provided by Get Fresh owners said they'd decided to close as "new opportunities have arisen for us at this time".   They thanked The Wharf Mooloolaba for their "outstanding support during out time there" and throughout their decision to close.   "We would also like to thank our customers who have supported us over this time," the statement said.