Thames Valley businesses are hoping the goodwill of customers following the Covid-19 lockdown will continue in the lead-up to Christmas.
With decorations hung and an abundance of items on shelves, businesses are proving that shoppers don’t need to go far to find perfect Christmas gifts this year.
“It’s all right on your doorstep,” Lyn Barry from Thames gift shop Lynne’s told the Profile.
Barry has been retailing for 30 years, 17 of those spent in Thames. She said she has noticed an increase in domestic travellers stopping and shopping in town.
“I’d like to thank the people for shopping local, because it does make a big difference,” she said.
Barry said Lynne’s prides itself on quality. She has even established Loyalty Cards, and said once a customer has purchased an item in store, they get a “permanent discount for life”.
The Pollen St store will be open 9am-5pm weekdays, and 9.30am-1.30pm on Saturdays throughout the lead-up to Christmas, as well as on Sunday, December 20, 9am-5pm. The store will be closed on stat days.
Like Lynne’s, Willow Gifts and Lifestyle Boutique in Ngatea also attracts customers from out of town. However, owner Lili Vivian said it was important for locals to also call in for a browse.
“We get support from many different avenues, but there are still people locally that haven’t actually been in here.
“I’d love for people to make the time to support their community, because that’s what all small businesses in NZ need right now,” she said.
Willow opened on Labour Weekend one year ago, and provides boutique clothing, homewares, decorations, books, bath products and gifts.
The shop is adorned with items that cater to all types of people, and inclusiveness had always been a goal for Vivian.
“I think lockdown in a way was very eye-opening for some people, with what their community does offer, but whether that lasts or not, we’ll have to wait and see,” she said.
Willow, on Ngatea’s main strip, opens at 9am throughout the week, and at 9.30am and 10am on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Meanwhile, it’s a mixed bag at Eclectic Studio, a new Paeroa store that offers clothing, furniture, art, gifts, home decor, flowers, and interior decorating.
It’s a shop which sells items crafted by other small businesses: a small business helping small businesses, owner Rebecca Ryan said.
There are eight within the store all specialising in different wares.
“Every little bit we’ve got in here, you won’t see anywhere else. We’ve got such a wide range of things we can offer,” Ryan said.
“My thing is flowers and furniture restoration, and the local businesses have supported me as well.”
Ryan has had her physical store in Paeroa for just over two months. She was previously in Franklin, south of Auckland, before moving to the Hauraki earlier this year.
It is currently just Ryan manning the shop, but she hopes she’ll be able to take on another staff member come Christmas.
“We can’t continue without the local support. While we do have an online presence, we’re here to service the local community and without that, you just don’t have a business.”
Eclectic Studio is located at 94 Normanby Rd, Paeroa. For information, visit: www.eclecticstudio.co.nz.
By KELLEY TANTAU
PHOTO: Paeroa’s Eclectic Studio owner Rebecca Ryan encourages people to shop local this Christmas.