“I like to think we are the heart of the north,” said Rebecca McDonald, Centre Manager at Elizabeth City Centre. “We are so connected to our immediate community through schools, local organisations and of course, our customers.”
Rebecca joined the team at Elizabeth City Centre as retail manager in 2012. Ten years and a couple of roles later, she now manages the largest shopping centre in northern Adelaide.
“I find it hard to describe what I do as it is so diverse,” Rebecca said. “But at the end of the day, it is all about creating a place that people love to visit. It’s collaborating with stores and customers, supporting my team, finding new stores that our customers want or need, and generally, working on new ways to entertain and connect people.”
It’s a sentiment that closely mirrors the 1950s vision for the newly established Elizabeth town centre — a focal point for trading and professional activity, as well as a place its community could connect and socialise.
From its days as an open-air mall in the 1960s, welcoming and farewelling department store stalwarts like John Martin’s and Myer, to now boasting over 150 speciality shops and a bustling entertainment precinct, the Centre’s role in Playford has always been more than that of your typical suburban shopping mall.
“We are a destination, a one-stop-shop where people can come to connect, shop and play; not just for Playford but for the Barossa, Adelaide Plains, Yorke Peninsula and beyond,” Rebecca said.
“COVID has shown us that, yes, we can all shop online but as humans we will always want, always need that personal, physical and emotional connection. We want to be entertained and enjoy spaces where we can come together.
“One of the best parts about working in Playford is the people,” she said. “There are some remarkable personalities in our community. People are what matters.”
A CBD that responds to growth
"Our area is growing and expanding at a staggering rate,” said Rebecca. “This growth provides opportunity for personal and business development, more activity, and a greater community for our children to grow up in.”
Growth is a key driver of Council’s plans to reshape the Elizabeth CBD into a thriving retail, business and entertainment precinct. It responds to contemporary expectations that services, employment and lifestyle experiences are available close to where you live.
With core sites adjacent to the Elizabeth City Centre, Council has been working with private industry to identify partners to privately invest in the CBD and complement the activities of existing businesses and services like the Elizabeth City Centre.
“I believe the project will further highlight Elizabeth as the diverse and engaging place that it already is,” said Rebecca. “It will give those who aren’t currently visiting more reasons to come and will provide an amazing range of services and facilities to those who are already here.”
Subscribe to the CBD project e-news to keep up-to-date with progress at playford.sa.gov.au/cbd