The food court at Kern Arcade.
The food court at Kern Arcade.

Council makes statement on Kern Arcade closure

AS RUMOURS fly around what is happening at the Kern Arcade, Rockhampton Regional Council has strongly confirmed it is not involved with any sales or redevelopment.

The Cooper family made the shock announcement late last week they would be closing their three stores - Coopers, Propaganda and The Arcade Outlet.

It was later revealed the Kern Arcade would also close sometime early in the new year.

The existing stores, Downtown Diva hairdressing salon, The Arcade News and Casket, Scoffins Clocks and Watches and Blue Leaf Takeaway have been notified of the closure however have not been given a date.

The Kern Arcade carpark.
The Kern Arcade carpark.

The Kern Arcade Markets have been running every Sunday for the last 22 years and it has not been confirmed if they would continue at this stage.

It is understood the carpark will remain open.

The Morning Bulletin has reached out to many business people over the last week and a sale of the arcade could not be confirmed.

There has also been speculation the council has been involved, however this is not true.

Council’s official response was: “Rockhampton Regional Council can confirm that they have not purchased the Kern Arcade and they have not received any information regarding its closure.”

Council’s planning department has not had any recent enquires regarding the centre and was not aware of the closure.

East St, Rockhampton, in 1973.
East St, Rockhampton, in 1973.

Council has been working with markets co-ordinator Madonna McMullen to find a new location.

The Kern Arcade was opened in 1987 with 16 shops by Jim Webber who was mayor at the time.

Prior to the arcade, the site was the Reid’s building and before that it was Lucas Store.

East St Rockhampton, believed to be in the 1940s.
East St Rockhampton, believed to be in the 1940s.

The Lucas Store had the only escalator in Rockhampton at the time and they had a cafe on the first floor.

During this era, Woolworths was where Rivers is now with Coles just up the road.

An advertisement in The Morning Bulletin from 1991.
An advertisement in The Morning Bulletin from 1991.

The Cooper family bought the Kern Arcade from the Kern Corporation in 1993 for $1.7 million.

Rockhampton CBD: East St in years gone by with the old Post Office taking prominence.
Rockhampton CBD: East St in years gone by with the old Post Office taking prominence.

The newsagency is the centre’s oldest tenant, clocking up 29 years and 10 months.

Downtown Diva hair salon has been there five years with the previous salon named Essential Cuts.

The Kern Arcade in December 2020. The Cooper family have just announced they would be closing the centre.
The Kern Arcade in December 2020. The Cooper family have just announced they would be closing the centre.

In 2014, the stores in the arcade were Coopers, Propaganda, The Arcade Outlet, Essential Cuts, Sam Wray Chocolates, Simplicity Market Fresh Flowers, Arcade News, Scoffins, Earl of Sandwich and Eastern Fattys.

Sam Wray Chocolates was very popular with locals.
Sam Wray Chocolates was very popular with locals.

Other businesses over the years have included a donut bar, Pit Stop Carvery Carvery, Prouds, Conway Jewellers, Mystic Connection, Catwalk Pink, Suzanne Grae, Green Fingers, Williams the Shoeman, Tall Pines florist, Sandra’s lingerie, Mr C’s Takeaway, Taka Jewellery, Cue, Kay’s Handbags and Luggage, Thailicious, The Remnant Shop, and a menswear store, Trends for Men.

The Coopers store in the Kern Arcade.
The Coopers store in the Kern Arcade.

Propaganda is owned by the Cooper family and was first established in 2012 at Stockland.

Propaganda store at Kern Arcade.
Propaganda store at Kern Arcade.

Coopers has been operating for 66 years and was originally located on Bolsover St.

The Cooper family has declined to comment any further on the closure.

Their statement cited COVID-19 and online shopping as the reasons behind the closure.

They stated they would make an announcement about the centre in the New Year.



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