First South Africa, then the Rockefeller Centre, New York – and, now Cork is about to be hit by Rain.

The Southern African-based company Rain, which sources and sells organically made and ethically-sourced beauty and body products, is to open in its first European city tomorrow, in the niche Cork retail boulevard, the Winthrop Arcade.

And, its arrival is expected to be followed shortly afterwards by another new tenancy at the Art Deco/Tudoresque mall, between St Patrick Street by Brown Thomas and the GPO on Oliver Plunkett Street.

Sources say the other likely new tenant is a specialist food producer, likely to be a chocolatier...in which case it will join Leonidas and Butlers in this same market niche, creating a ‘Truffle Triangle’ by Winthrop Arcade’s Oliver Plunkett Street entrance.

Agent Amanda Isherwood of Lisney this week confirmed details of the arrival of Rain into Unit 8, a compact L-shaped store of just 240 sq ft. Lisney had been quoting c €50 psf “and we achieved close to that level, on a 10-year lease,” added Ms Isherwood.

The African company’s handmade products are seeking to conquer new continents, and Irish representative Declan Ryan, who is based in Kinsale, said they are looking for other UK and Dublin/Irish opportunities and sites.

His Rain has already hit Kinsale, opening 500 sq ft last Sunday at 42 Main Street, behind Fishy Fishy. It will be open Wednesday to Sunday each week. Rain’s Winthrop Arcade store will trade Monday-Saturday, with an official opening this Saturday.

Also in negotiations at the moment is Unit 3, the last remaining unit in Winthrop Arcade, with rents guided at €50/60 psf and if a deal is done it will mean 100% occupancy in the double entrance Winthrop Arcade.

According to Ms Isherwood, “the property forms part of the retail core of the city centre on the pedestrian street of Winthrop Street and by the GPO on the pedestrian-priority zone of Oliver Plunkett Street, which was judged the best shopping street in the UK and Ireland in 2015.”

Winthrop Street greeted a new food arrival late in 2016, when burrito restaurant Boojum opened in the former Ginos pizzeria slot, and the area’s profile will change significantly when Penneys act on long-anticipated plans to significantly enlarge their store on Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, and on Cook Street: a number of Cook Street units now are idle pending redevelopment, following a c €20m plus site assembly by the Primark retail monolith.

Meanwhile, the more minnow-like 1920s-built Winthrop Arcade was sold as an investment via KPMG and Lisney four years ago to a UK buyer, based in Wicklow, having been guided at c €1 million. The Tudor-revival arcade has 4,500 sq ft at ground level, and up to 12 ‘brass and glass’ niche retailing units, though several are doubles.

Other occupiers include Monreal and Salingers, as well as 2015 ‘new’ arrivals, florist Best of Buds and ‘Rocketman’ Jack Crotty’s ‘East’, doing North African-insipred falafels among other offers – so, the Winthrop Arcade is a Cork spot where North Africa will meet South Africa.

Details: www.rainafrica.com, Lisney 021-4275079


Lifestyle

Why you should go hug a tree

More From The Irish Examiner