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Countryside revival: Want to ditch city living and open a small business?

26 Nov 2019

Small town living is making a comeback and with that there has been a revival of small industries.

This hotel in Voelklip, Hermanus, offers 21 bedrooms, a braai area with manicured garden, pool and mountain views. It is on the market for R15 million - click here to view.

This is according to Richard Pratt from Seeff Struisbaai, who says that the artisanal revival is inspiring people to set up shop along the tourist routes and it is not uncommon to find a young couple, an executive or professional in their forties or fifties suddenly deciding to move to the countryside to open a restaurant.

For some, it is the opportunity to finally open an art gallery or craft shop while others may look into organic farming or homemade produce. And there are often plenty of opportunities to serve local farming and town communities, says Pratt.

This commercial property in Stanford, Overberg, is on the market for R2.79 million - click here to view.

For example, look at an area such as Struisbaai, he says. "It is just two hours’ from Cape Town, and a popular weekend and holiday destination with a bustling local community and a host of business opportunities. The town is growing and demand for commercial property and vacant land is high despite the economic challenges."

Pratt says there are several commercial property buyers looking to invest and start their own businesses and it is fairly easy to find tenants since demand is high. Rental income is affordable which is great for an entrepreneur setting up shop. And most are looking for small business opportunities ranging from carpentry to steel works.

This commercial property in Van Wyksdorp, Ladismith, offers a kitchen and office. It is selling for R730 000 - click here to view.

Belinda Willemse, also from Seeff Struisbaai, says she is beginning to see an influx of younger people looking to set up a business. Where the Struisbaai and Agulhas area was mainly known as a coastal town for retirement or holidaymakers, the high crime rates and intensity of city living is driving younger couples with their children to relocate to smaller towns for a better quality life.

This in turn is driving demand for commercial property. Prices of commercial property ranges from R2.5 million to R5 million while rentals are generally in the R4 500 to R8 000 per square metre range depending on the location.

She says further that good opportunities include a reputable food store (such as Woolworths), medical suites and an electronic store for computer equipment, cell phones and accessories.

Seeff’s countryside agents give a few more suggestions:

1. Overberg

This 114sqm commercial property in Struisbaai, Western Cape, is on the market for R449 000 - click here to view.

Services to a busy farming community and bustling town such as vehicle repairs is always in demand. The vibrant town of Bredasdorp in the Overberg is one such area and here, you can for example find a well-equipped panel beating business for R2.845 million, says John Albertyn and Elaine Beyers.

Beer gardens and outdoor restaurants are popular with tourists and locals. Head to Struisbaai where you will find the well-known Old Cape Last Trading Post, a popular tourist attraction with a restaurant/bar, beer garden and accommodation for R12.8 million.

2. Middleburg

This well-positioned commercial property in Middelburg Central, Mpumalanga, offers three kitchens, six bathrooms and eight offices. It is on the market for R10.944 million - click here to view.

Even a town like Middelburg in the Karoo has great opportunities. Here, Barbara van Zyl is selling the fully-equipped Spiros Family Bakery, both the business and property for R10 million.

Or, if the Orange River resort town of Gariepdam is to your liking, you could consider investing in a popular café and bakery ideally located for customers’ daily fresh bread and milk requirements, says Mariaan Booysen. Priced at R870 000, it is ready to walk into and start operating.

3. Calvinia

The Calvinian Hotel in Calvinia, Northern Cape, has a restaurant, bar facilities and entertainment areas. It is selling for R6.45 million - click here to view.

Flip Augustyn, says if you want to run a guest house and Calvinia appeals to you, then consider the landmark Calvinian Hotel, a 1 562sqm building on 2 155sqm of land for R6.45 million.

4. Klein Karoo

This guest house in Oudtshoorn Central, Western Cape, offers a bar, large deck pool and braai areas. It is on the market for R4.75 million - click here to view.

Bettie Nel says the popular Klein Karoo town of Oudtshoorn also welcomes scores of visitors annually and guest houses are always in demand. Expect to pay around R4.75 million for a guest house with seven suites, a pool and a second house with two bedrooms.

Aside from coffee shops and restaurants, Nelia Retief from Seeff Tulbagh says bric-a-brac and antique stores are also popular. A good choice is a renovated building in Main Road for R2.995 million which houses a deli, coffee shop, restaurant and antique furniture/bric-a-brac shop. The price is for the building and land, but the businesses are also for sale.

5. Riebeek Kasteel

This theatre in Riebeek Kasteek, Western Cape, offers a bar and dam views. It is on the market for R2.2 million - click here to view.

Entertainment is another popular choice. Just think of what Pieter Dirk Uys’ Evita’s Peron has done for the small West Coast town of Darling. If you are into the performing arts, then you should definitely head to Riebeek Kasteel, about two hours’ from Cape Town where you will find a fabulous theatre, says Niel Brand.

The price of R2.2 million includes the land and buildings. The theatre has two separate performance chambers and can accommodate adults and children, dressing rooms, a large bar plus kitchen and has hosted many local and international artists.

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