Much has been written about the need for the regeneration of the Hermanus Central Business District (CBD). The opening of the Whale Coast Mall and the flight of some businesses and residents to this new shopping mecca have adversely affected the daily rhythm of the CBD. The unrest last year didn’t help and the general downturn in the global economy this year has meant less money in people’s pockets. And, if we are honest, some parts of town are looking a bit tatty and in need of a fresh lick of paint and some greenery.
Indeed, The Village NEWS has been full of articles and letters lamenting the state of affairs in the CBD.
Unfortunately, despite plans, promises and meetings with the Overstrand Municipality, there is very little tangible evidence of action on their part. The planned upgrades for the CBD, for example, have been put on hold while the municipality sorts out the tender.
Nevertheless, in spite of the wheels of the municipality turning at what some consider a snail’s pace, there is evidence that green shoots are growing in Hermanus, lovingly tended by a remarkable group of entrepreneurs who have bravely opened new businesses.
The Wine Glass and The Brewery have quickly established themselves as destinations for locals and visitors. Body20 offers a new way to lose weight and tone up. Curiositea focuses on offering a wide variety of teas, a welcome diversion from coffee. Mezz & Co is bringing the Mediterranean kitchen to our doorstep, while Victoria’s Pantry is the first plastic-free food shop in Hermanus. Appetite Knight @ The Gallery Cafe serves up a unique menu of seasonal and locally-sourced, mostly organic or biodynamic, vegetarian and plant-based dishes.
There are many more examples and they all have one thing in common – they are unique, differentiated and very much owner driven. All of them are welcome additions to the array of products and services for which Hermanus is known.
These new business owners must be saluted for their creativity and acumen. Not only are they a welcome addition to the town but they are clearly pointing the way forward towards a renewed and revived Hermanus.