It takes vision and tenacity to create a village, such as Pavilions Marketplace on the peak of Terranora.
With panoramic views over hilltops to Coolangatta and Stradbroke Island beyond, it’s the little shopping village that has it all: a great range of services for locals, a community-based focus, regular free events, and fabulous food.
Defying the usual economic imperatives, “The central idea for this complex is ‘building community’, with Pavilions Marketplace being the central community space,” says Terry Harmer, who owns the centre with his wife Catherine.
The couple are hands-on curators of the shopping village, Terry regularly seen watering the centre’s gardens, personally interviewing all his prospective tenants to ensure a community focus for the precinct and Catherine running the café, Coconut Coffee House.
“It was the calibre of the local school that provided the motivation,” Terry tells us, “making us aware of how much this is a ‘thinking’ community.”
The precinct, now open and to be completed this year, includes an office hub, an expansion of the current medical practitioners, a wellness centre (including a chiropractor, beauty, yoga, meditation and Pilates, massage, child psychology and speech therapy practitioners), veterinary clinic, dental clinic, petrol station, a vibrant hotel complete with a garden bar plus a wedding and function centre, a grocery/convenience store, stylish specialist retailers, restaurants, cafés and a recycling centre.
Two food outlets are open, with more to follow in the next few weeks.
Coconut Coffee House is open for breakfast, lunch, coffee and cake. From favourites such as smashed avocado and bacon and eggs to healthy salads loaded with sprouts and lentils, homemade sweets and shakes, at Coconut Coffee House you can dine on affordable locally-grown organic food with views from the veranda.
The Inky Squid is owned and operated by Jessica Price and her chef/partner Ben Jones (ex-Nahm, Qualia and Taverna, Kingscliff). Selling freshly prepared seafood-based meals as well as fresh seafood and specialty burgers to go, its Jess’s friendly service and Ben’s connection to suppliers that are essential to the shop. The couple buy from local suppliers such as Northern Rivers Seafood and Jack Sprat’s Butchery and serve local Sobah non-alcoholic beer and mocktails.
The undercover dining pavilion in the central courtyard of Pavilions Marketplace not only enables group dining, it also provides a meeting place and focal point for the centre’s activities, including live music on Friday nights, movies and artisan markets.
“I believe in karma,” Terry tells us. In a climate where big business closing down the little guys is no longer hot news, it’s both a revelation and a lesson in the making.
The Pavilions Marketplace, 2-14 Henry Lawson Drive, Terranora, NSW
NOTE: This article was published in The Sun newspaper on 6 March, 2019.