"a healthy blend of service, food and ‘something a little unique’"
By Fiona Stocker.
Tony Seymour worked in London and Sydney briefly but he wouldn’t live anywhere other than Launceston. After working overseas for just a short time, he decided that ‘Tasmania was the best place,’ and came straight back. Ours is a city with stunning buildings and a great lifestyle, what’s more it’s a nice size, he says, and those are its strengths.
He’s spent the past four decades managing properties with a deft touch, a way with people and just a bit of vision. He believes in getting to know his tenants personally and giving new business owners a chance.
Purchasing the Centreway Arcade some fifteen years ago, Tony worked with City of Launceston planners to transform it into a stately precinct. Everything from the floors to ceilings and street façade were designed to fit with the vision of Launceston as an elegant shopping city.
While we tend to ‘hunker down’ in winter, the arcade is home to traditional businesses relied upon all year round - like Spit n Polish Shoe Repairs and Debbie Champ Clothing Alterations - and the town’s only central convenience store, Jo’s City Express. The floors above house office spaces for Launceston’s businesses and incomers – MONA FOMA makes itself at home here during festival season.
Over time, Tony has developed a keen understanding of what works in city centre retail. It’s a healthy blend of service, food and ‘something a little unique’ that can’t be found online, he says. A prime example is the arcade’s Launceston Precision Jewellers, where design and craftsmanship is delivered personally at the store.
He’s given a head start to a dozen or so enterprising tenants in the form of pop-up shops, and had the satisfaction of seeing a handful make a success of it with an ongoing, permanent presence as city retailers.
Tony has passed on his passion for the city to his own family, with three adult children now calling Launceston home – keeping his ten grandchildren close. Much of the family is engaged in the property business, answering the call to keep Launceston special and unique. ‘When I walk people around the city, I always tell them to look up to the first floor,’ says Tony. ‘I want them to see the heritage and feel as proud as I do.’
Centreway Arcade 17-19 Paterson Street, Launceston.
Tucked away off Launceston's Paterson Street and linking through to Brisbane Street, is a mix of food, shopping and service businesses who proudly call the arcade home...
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