An antique shop that has been part of Kalk Bay’s Main Road for more than 20 years will be closing its doors soon, sparking fears among some that it could deal a blow to the village’s unique charm.
Kalkbay Antiques opened its doors in 1994 as Aladdins Cave and has, through the years, contributed to Kalk Bay’s old-world charm and uniqueness, which last year earned it the title of one of the 12 coolest suburbs in the world, according to Forbes Magazine.
The antique shop’s owner, Ingrid Aron, started working there in 1995 and has owned the shop for the past 15 years.
Although the shop had always done well, she said the nine years of roadworks had taken their toll on turnover.
“It became more difficult to keep up with overheads,” she said.
She said the winter of 2018 had been her worst ever, and for the first time, she had been unable to pay her rent.
A good Samaritan has offered her free storage for three months, and while looking for new premises, she will have no income. Her two employees, who have been working there for 18 and 15 years, will also be unemployed.
Simon Curtis, of Quagga Rare Books and Art, said the closing of Kalkbay Antiques was of great concern to him.
“It’s the variety of small unique shops that gives Kalk Bay its charm,” he said.
It was essential for good business to have shops of interest, and business owners in Kalk Bay propped each other up. It was sad for all the small businesses that Ms Aron was leaving, he said.
“Kalk Bay Main Road is changing, and we need to maintain its uniqueness,” he said.
Mr Curtis said many visitors from far and wide had visited the shop in its 25 years of existence.
“Well-travelled visitors comment on how unique Kalk Bay is, and these people have seen it all. They have seen the world, but they think Kalk Bay is unique.”
Another Kalk Bay resident, Bishop Geoff Davies, also known as the Green Bishop, said Kalk Bay had built its reputation with its wide variety of unique and eclectic places, with diversity being key among the art, antique and clothing shops.
“Kalk Bay was a very special village 40 years ago, resisting Group Areas and creating a unique community with a post office, two banks, a chemist, a butcher, a mini supermarket and a flourishing fishing harbour,” he said.
Some of the shops that had brought about the transition and variety, he said, were having to close their doors as chain stores crept in.
Antique and book shops might not bring in as much money, but they were vital to the attractiveness of the community, he said.
Joyce Adams, of the Kalk Bay Business Association, said small towns across the country were becoming faceless and monotonous. In some cases, it was hard to tell where you were because all the main roads had the same chain stores.
Family-owned and run businesses were giving way to franchises in the small towns and villages and that was exactly what the association wanted to prevent in Kalk Bay, she said.
“Retaining our characterful identity is also a bonus for tourism,” she said.