Another Scarborough business falls: Boho Espresso forced to close its doors

Boho Espresso owner Donny Collins.
Boho Espresso owner Donny Collins.

POPULAR local coffee spot Boho Espresso is the latest small business to fall victim to the Scarborough Redevelopment works and will have to shut its doors after six years.

Owner Donny Collins said the construction works for the $75 million project has cost him his business and now he is demanding answers from the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).

“I have to shut up shop, the only reason I’m staying open on the weekend is to give the staff time to find jobs,” he said.

“It is costing me $2500 per weekend to keep the doors open; I’m doing it because of the community.

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“You can’t put a figure on the goodwill we created in the community- it has gone from profitable business to non-existent.”

Mr Collins said he wasn’t given fair warning by the MRA about the extent of the impact on his business and construction boundary fences went up to the front courtyard of the cafe.

“On the surface, it was about supporting us but really there hasn’t been any answers,” he said.

“They should have disclosed the real impact; I think there was a bit of smoke and mirrors going on.

“There is no point in an offer of sparkly new buildings when there is no community at the heart of it.

“At this point we haven’t had any answer from Far East Organization, who own the Luna Shopping Complex and the Rendezvous Hotel, about a concession or a path forward which is really bad because it is a community down there.”

Last year, the MRA put a Scarborough activation plan into action, creating ‘pop-up’ cafes, a move which Mr Collins originally supported.

“Originally, I was in support of the activation of the sites to all get us through but looking back now that they are all struggling themselves I feel that it was just a hindrance.”

Mr Collins said he had no answers from either the MRA or Far East Consortium.

Scarborough Sandbar owner Ben Randall, who earlier this year called for compensation to losses, said he was shocked that business was slow at their usual peak period.

“We’ve just lost all our day trade, there’s no foot traffic, people aren’t driving in or visiting the beach because it effectively looks shut,” he said.

“We weren’t expecting it to be this bad this early in the year, these months are usually our best month; March and April.

“The MRA need to recognise the businesses that have put the government in this position where they can invest, they need us here and they need to be accountable.”

The MRA, Far East Consortium and Scarborough MLA Liza Harvey have been contacted for comment.