Spending locally powers our economy

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Our local businesses need your support now more than ever and through the #LoveLocalTararua campaign the District Council is encouraging everyone to support businesses across our district, buying local when they can.Suzie in front of Suzie's Coffee Shack.jpg

And as Caroline Charlton, the owner of Faith on Dannevirke’s High Street says, “it’s a powerful thing if you are spending money locally.”

Caroline said business is see-sawing up and down at the moment and it’s hard to gauge because there’s a long road ahead.

“We are just taking it day-by-day.”

During lockdown Faith ramped up their online sales, delivering locally.

“Felicity Appleton has been brilliant on social media, talking on camera about the clothes and it really worked, especially in lockdown. It makes a connection with customers.

“It was all about keeping relevant and making people aware that every purchase they make is important,” Caroline said. “If every woman in the district purchased just one thing from us, that would make a big difference.

“We’ve had good local support and we’re seeing new faces in the store. We know we can’t stock everything, but we’ve a good range and try and have something for everyone.”

Caroline said everyone should open a shop for a few weeks in a small town and they’d soon realise there isn’t much money to be made. It would open their eyes to the reality.

“You are doing a service. It’s a struggle and not just in a pandemic.

“We have got to support local if we are all going to survive and make our towns thrive.”

Tararua District Mayor, Tracey Collis, said when we choose to #LoveLocalTararua, we help preserve and create local jobs.

“Your choice makes a real difference. Our business people are passionate about what they do and the product lines they stock. I urge you to get to know what our local shops have to offer before heading out of town. Every time your dollar is spent locally, it continues to go around in our community helping many others to pay wages, bills and put food on the table.”

The best thing about the Tararua District has always been its people. We’re caring, welcoming and inclusive and we support each other and at Suzie’s Coffee Shack in Pahiatua, the support from locals has been “incredible,” owner Suzie Smith said.

“There’s a really good feeling.”

Suzie took over the business on February 24 and the COVID-19 lockdown a month later was a shock to the system, she admitted.

“But we have a plan and people are always going to want their coffee. I was lucky to be able to open in Level 3 and I realise no-one can wave a magic wand, so it’s about being calm and carrying on,” she said.

Currently Suzie is doing the coffee shack up and making her mark.

Selling coffee and tea, Suzie also stocks flavour syrups, does fluffies for the kids and offers a 50-cent discount to customers who bring their keep cups.

“The biggest thing is the socialisation, as that’s what people missed in lockdown,” she said. “It’s been a huge relief to see others and while some businesses are still feeling the impact of the lockdown, for the most part people are cheerful.”

Suzie’s Coffee Shack has a large number of customers who are travelling through from Napier and Hastings, often on the way to catch up with friends and family in Wellington

“Overall people are happy, but there’s a lot of talk about the recent new cases of Covid and that’s angered people,” she said.

District Councillor Carole Isaacson said she found cafes and restaurants were busy in first week of Level 1.

“We couldn’t just walk into Dannevirke’s Black Stump at Sunday lunch time. We booked a table and waited outside until one was available,” she said. “A week later I rang for takeaways from the Mangatera and they were fully booked in the restaurant and weren’t doing takeaways. They were too busy that Friday night - a good sign”

Carole said cafes are always busy, often with out-of-town people passing through.

“We don’t eat out a lot, but because we’re supporting our towns we have been,” she said. “#LoveLocalTararua has definitely alerted our local people, who are really enjoying their time out and about. Now that things have settled down it will have slowed a bit, but I am surprised by the number of tourists travelling through.”

At Maison in Eketahuna, owner Sarah Dandy said she’s been very busy with people enjoying being out and about following lockdown.

During Level 3 lockdown Maison had online sales and now Sarah said she’s noticing people are taking up the shop local message.

“They have realised they can get all their gifts, clothes and décor here in Eketahuna and they’re pleased to get top quality products,” she said.

As the owner of Eketahuna’s Lazy Graze Café, as well as Maison, Sarah said she’s finding people are keen to get out and about and are visiting the town for the café and shopping experience.

“The medical centre in Pahiatua have given vouchers to their staff and we’ve had them visiting Lazy Graze and then shopping at Maison,” she said.

Mayor Collis acknowledges our local retail has been hit hard through the Covid-19 lockdown period, but she is impressed by retailers’ efforts in adapting to online opportunities, engaging on Facebook and finding new ways to connect with their customers.

“Many stock orders to retailers were delayed and arrived almost simultaneously with winter stock, creating higher stock levels than usual,” she said. “With greatly reduced sales, higher inventory stocks and the usual business costs to be met, many are finding it tough balancing cashflows currently.

“We are fortunate to be served by a great range of retailers throughout the district and most shopping is able to be carried out locally with many of our small businesses being locally owned and operated.

“Our local retailers have been extremely generous with their community spirit, sponsoring local organisations, even as recently as the Walk the Tararua promotion, held during the lockdown, demonstrating that even in hard times they still care by supporting us.”

You can check out more #LoveLocal stories here

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