Friday, November 24, 2017

Thames (NZ): The opening of the Goldfields Shopping Centre 1990

A recent postcard purchase celebrates the opening of the Thames Goldfields Shopping Centre back on Wednesday 7 November 1990. The shopping centre cost $25 million dollars and initially had room for 40 retail shops. It was part of a Foodstuff's project that had seen the opening of the Pak 'N Save supermarket the previous year. The reclaimed land on which the mall was built had been purchased from Thames developer Mr Graham Harris. (Thames Star 6 November 1990)

A selection of early shops were: Stevens Gifts, Warnocks, Modern Bags, Robert Harris Restaurant (top floor), Rei Hamon Gallery, Payless Plastics, Tandy’s Music, Rodney Wayne Hair Salon and many more.

The Warehouse and McDonald's were later additions to the complex and extensive remodeling was needed to accommodate them. The present store directory has not been updated for some time.
ABOVE: Views of the new Goldfields Shopping Centre in November 1990.
Photographer: Chris Smith

When people remember those early days of the shopping centre, they usually mention the following:
  • Robert Harris Coffee Lounge and the ride up to it on the escalator.
  • How many falls there were on the escalator!
  • The waterwheel that was in the foyer.
  • The great Friday night roasts!
  • The great music shop!
  • Meeting for morning or afternoon tea at the mall.
  • The picture theatre at the mall!
  • And yes those slippery tiles, were always a nightmare.

Many stores have come and gone, while present management appear to continue to try and attract tenants for the empty shops. Initially shopkeepers in Pollen Street feared the mall could lead to their demise, but this has not been the case. It appears it has been many of the Mall's shops that have been the ones that have struggled and gone out of business.

Good or bad, the Goldfields Shopping Centre still operates to this day.

ABOVE: The Goldfields Shopping Centre Carpark from the intersection of Queen and Mary Streets.