TOUGH economic times, combined with about 18 months of infrastructure works, have forced the closure of well-known Ballarat clothing store Rokk 66.
Owner Louise James said yesterday the Peel Street store would close at the end of the year.
“It’s been a tough couple of years, but all these things (the works) don’t help,” Ms James said.
Ballarat City Council has been carrying out works in Peel Street, including footpath improvements and installing traffic lights to replace pedestrian crossings.
“It might be more beautiful, but there’ll be no businesses left,” Ms James said.
She said since closing down signs went up on Thursday, there had been a great response from customers.
“You would have thought we were closing yesterday, there was that much amazing support.”
However, Ms James said the business recently had its worst three months in nearly seven years, largely blaming the works outside the shop, which began on June 22.
She said online shopping had also made retail tough across the city, plus people were either saving their money or spending
in Melbourne instead.
“I’m just disappointed. We should have been growing.”
In an email to Ms James, the council’s city infrastructure general manager, Eric Braslis, said it was unfortunate Rokk 66 had to close its doors.
“The City of Ballarat values a diverse range of retailers in the Ballarat CBD,” the email read.
Mr Braslis said the Peel Street works had been requested by road users and traders, including the Bridge Mall Traders Association.
“At the conclusion of these works, council will have invested in excess of $3 million in the precinct and this has been done in order to achieve a more welcoming and desirable aspect to the eastern end of the Bridge Mall and a more attractive entrance point to the CBD.”
Bridge Mall Traders Association manager John Marios said Rokk 66 had felt the brunt of the works because of its position.
“It’s always tough when the weather is at its coldest and the works probably haven’t helped,” Mr Marios said.
“I haven’t had any other reports of businesses being adversely affected, but I do sympathise with them.”