Sea Point in Cape Town is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in the world – on the hem of Cape Town’s CBD with the Table Mountain range touching the ocean. The perfect suburb for work, live and play.
Over the last two years, Sea Point’s retail milieu has undergone a huge transformation with more and more people starting to appreciate the culmination of quirky Cape Town vibes and unbelievable beach living.
One developer after the other have started to invest in rejuvenating, uplifting and renewing the retail environment, resulting in an interesting, exciting treasure chest for Capetonians and tourists to shop, chill and be entertained.
On the block of Regent, Church and Clarens Roads, Mojo Market is creating a unique and complimentary buzz in the Sea Point vibe, with everyone in Cape Town talking about it and getting together here to watch the Springboks play or listen to a live band while food hopping. And with a hotel upstairs, your accommodation is sorted too!
With a double volume open plan indoor market filled with amazing food, interesting little shops and common seating overlooking the sparkling ocean, Mojo Market is fresh, exciting and most definitely a place I just had to explore.
On a cloudy winter’s day, sipping a steaming cappuccino, I wanted to know all about the concept, how it came about and what the future holds for Mojo Market and its owners Robbie Lessem, Graeme Robinson and Tara Lerner.
Robbie, a property owner and developer with a history of retail, explained that the site was once occupied by OK Bazaars and then by the Post Office and a few big box retailers.
Perfectly nestled between The Point Mall (recently revamped) and St John’s Piazza, the location for passing traffic and creating something different and complimentary, was optimal.
Sea Point is already a densely populated neighbourhood with a cosmopolitan mixture of well-established households and young up and comers, which is a huge plus in terms of the lifestyle perspective of introducing a market to the area.
Two other unique features, however, were not being optimised: the double volume space and the back of the building which was a solid wall on the ocean’s side.
Once the entire floor was opened up and big windows knocked through to create views over Beach Road, its palm trees and sparkling water beyond, the stage was set for a wonderfully exciting collaborative space.
The inspiration for the market – it’s design, flow and concept was drawn from all over the world and given a unique South African flair by the great team who collaborated on the project.
The main drive and inspiration behind Mojo Market is to create an exciting customer experience where people can come together, enjoy a wide variety of excellent food, mingle around the bar area and soak up the views. For Robbie and Graeme, it’s all about customer experience: “The key number is that we are a 365/7-day market with a 24-hour section, so this market never closes. In terms of offering entertainment, we have exposed at least 60 different acts in just over 3 months”.
To ensure that the vision of the market remains on point, it is crucial to ensure that each trader is hand-picked, that each offering is nothing short of excellent and that the quality is consistent.
With the trading spaces being quite small, a fantastic opportunity is created for entrepreneurs who have fresh, unique ideas and concepts but who might not have the wherewithal to invest a huge deposit and fit-out upfront as is required in a conventional retail set-up.
For Robbie, the risk of being stuck in a lease with a bad operator is bigger than having shorter, flexible leases. With the upfront cost of fit-out relatively low, the rentals very reasonable and the deposit low, it increases the ability of the retailer to break even sooner.
A successful trader is very happy to pay a portion of turn-over as rental and the Mojo team are ecstatic when traders are excellent performers as it contributes to the overall success and longevity of the market.
“We only want traders who want to be here and who want to do well”, says Robbie, “for us it’s all about the customer having an exceptional experience.”
In terms of selecting the first tenants, Robbie says that Baskins Robbins trading early in the development was a huge attribute to attracting feet. “They have been phenomenal thus far and we are extremely excited about their potential in the coming summer months.”
Robbie and his team aim to tenant the market as expansively as possible by introducing speciality food retailers who cater to everyone’s tastes.
“We will continue to work with our tenants to achieve excellence in their products and their overall experience” says Robbie “there is always something to improve on and we will continue to guide willing, enthusiastic traders to become the best they can be”.
With a quality experience being Mojo Market’s over-arching strategy, more interactive experiences are being planned such as gin and wine tasting.
Word of mouth has been phenomenal with 150 000 unique visitors tracked via Wi-Fi analytics to date. Many customers are repeat visitors, which means that the market has a very positive local following.
With summer around the corner, Mojo Market is getting ready for many more visitors, including tourists and will be increasing seating capacity soon.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your mojo on! Meet you at the Mojo Market.
Copyright © 2017 by Natalie du Preez.
This article was written by Natalie du Preez and is original content, which is property of the author, all rights reserved. This article or any portion thereof may not be copied, shared or reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the owner.