Since a few months I ago I joined as a Brand Depot Frequent Buyer Club member, I thought I may as well go to check out the pre-opening shopping day for members only, in order to beat the rush on opening day. My intentions were to first wait a few weeks to let the big hype of it all die down and just pop in to see what it was all about, but I must say it was a little too temping for a shop-a-holic like me, so off I went.
Before I get into all the nitty gritty, well what else can I say than it was much more disappointing than I had expected, in fact it stunk – literally! Once I parked my car in the way oversized car park, the walk up to the front door reeked of fresh manure… It was so strong that I had to hold my breath! Once inside, a free hat and a directory was shoved into my hands and away I went…
Layout: it is basically just a huge warehouse with a few walls and windows between the shops â€“ no roofs! So you can hear everything else from the entire centreâ€¦ every store was playing a different song and it got a little, whatâ€™s the wordâ€¦ â€œover-noisedâ€ I suppose. The walkway is one big rectangle and you have to basically walk past every store to get to the toilets, parents room, and â€œrefuel loungeâ€ and back out again. Ok, a smart idea by the management to ensure the shopper walks past every store, but not very practical for someone who is busting for the loo, has a bunch of shrieking kids about to pee themselves, or is dehydrated from the stench of manure out the front and is dying to get a drink! A walkway to cut through the middle would be much more practical. I just canâ€™t believe that the original completion date was Juneâ€¦ what took so long to build that they were 3 months late in opening?? Very strangeâ€¦ and you know what? The place isnâ€™t even finished yet â€“ room for another 20 stores is yet to built.
Shopping & Prices: what a huge disappointment! Most of the clothes were absolutely disgusting, and none were at â€œfactoryâ€ prices â€“ most were actually at full regular store prices!!â€¦ hmm and for some reason I thought that Brand Depot was a â€œfactory outletâ€??? Silly me! To add to this disappointment, many stores were not even open (even though they had staff inside chatting and looked fully stocked and ready to go), and these were the ones that looked more promising fashion and price-wise. Other stores that were â€œopenâ€ were for example just a huge grey room with 5 pairs of shoes on either wall â€“ what a joke! You call that a store?? To add to this I noted that many of the storeâ€™s cash registers and eftpos machines were out of order â€“ so even if you did find something you wanted to buyâ€¦ you couldnâ€™t.
Refuel Lounge: the only food choices were pies (at $5 per pie â€“ what a rip off! $5 for a freaking meat pie!!), sloppy subway, greasy Asian, sickening donuts and an overpriced cafÃ©. Nothing very appealing to say the least.
All in all I found Brand Depot very disappointing and doubt that it will last very long, and after reading the Canberra Times story about the actual opening day I find it very hard to believe that the ATMs ran out of cash and a number of stores had run out of stock. Could it be because the eftpos machines in the stores were not working and that perhaps some of the stores only had a very small handful of items to sell anyways? Also, apparently 3000 cars were parked at the site on opening day – where? There are only 1700 car spots!! I think they are all trying to make the place sound better than it actually isâ€¦
Soâ€¦ did anyone else go to the grand opening? What did you think?