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Monday
Jan032011

Business is great – yeah right! (2)

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I thought this comment by Thames-ite sufficiently pertinent to turn it into a post.

just been down town - Sunday 2nd day of a new year - heaps of people but hardly any shops open - lots of signs in windows saying "sorry closed until the 5th" - might as well add - 'gone to the beach' - Thames is slowly dying on its feet - other towns on the Peninsula are open and welcoming visitors - not good ol' Thames - so next time I hear a retailer complain about lack of business or people shopping out of town I will remind them that a closed shop on a busy weekend [public holiday] is not the way to do business or encourage people to shop at home.
Recently the Mayor described Thames as -"not a gateway town but a destination" -- yeah right Leachy- somebody should tell the shopkeepers.
interesting to note that those shops which are trading are owned by 'new people' in town and mainly of a different ethnic background - maybe we could all learn from their approach to 'service'.
Spoke to 2 ladies looking in thru the window of a closed shoe shop -"would you have bought those shoes had it been open?" - short answer --"yes"
they also commented that Thames was once the leading town on the Peninsula - now about to be overtaken by the likes of Whitianga/Whangamata - [and it would pay to note that Whitianga is looking at a $4.8 million 'town centre up-grade' in 2014/15 - paid for by ratepayers] - or so I am told by a Eastern seaboard Councillor- who went on to say "'we will become the shopping and cultural center of the Peninsula when that happens"-- goodbye Thames - hello Whitianga
Come on retailers - open your doors - that's if you really want Thames to be a 'destination town' not a 'gateway town'---too late to close the gate when the horse has bolted-----

 I checked out Pollen St. on Sunday at 3pm – apart from the liquor outlets and Four Squares, greengrocers and bakeries, the only shops open were the 2nd hand book shops and Lotus in Grahamstown, Carsons, Leemings, Mitre 10, Dick Smiths, No 1 Shoes, and Repco. 

The only food outlets were Chequers, The Bakehouse, Central Seafoods and Subway. What a choice!

At the same time, there was an almost unbroken line of traffic on Queen St., both ways.  Could I suggest that all it would take is signs at either end of Pollen St.:

Thames is Open 

   Take a Break

Or similar - surely more than enough business would result to justify every retailer and food outlet in Pollen St. staying open on summer holidays. Thames-ite is right on the mark – the problem is attitude, and too many grumpy retailers stuck in their old ways. The contrast with Whitianga is palpable. Destination, or Dead End? Actions, not words, are what are required.



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Reader Comments (2)

I generally do all of my purchasing in Thames but the dining places are an issue. There is a resturant in Grahamstown that seems to be full most nights and why. The food is good but the prices are right as well. I will not pay Auckland prices for food in Thames. If you can't do a mains for under $20 then stay empty.Fiji has a system of one rate for visitors and another for locals which in our case could be by library card for identification ....easy peasy.

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Feran

Well good for Thames-ite!
While I am happy to accept the notion that local business ought to make the most of every opportunity to bring in revenue, and that at times Thames is poorly served by main street business, I equally accept that, from the other side of the counter, Thames business is sometimes treated badly by locals who, on occasion, loudly proclaim how they shop in Auckland or Paeroa or Tauranga or wherever, or won't shop with Bill, or Mary, because they are rude, or because they cannot get a parking spot right outside the shop they want to go to, or because the range of goods is so limited, or the prices are too high, or the colour is not right, or the shop-keeper won't offer discount on an already tight margin, and so the list of complaints goes on.
All of them valid; but, maybe the bigger picture is that sometimes customers need to accept some compromise and support local business, while, at the same time, initiating a dialogue with the businessperson about how things might be improved. I might challenge the age-old adage that the customer is always right ... hmmm...
Small business anywhere can only survive with consistent support from core customers, often locals. Sure, business sometimes needs to improve service levels, but when you stand behind a counter attending to Mr/Mrs typical Kiwi customer, you soon understand why some staff fight back or simply can't be bothered. As consumers we can be impolite, unreasonable, rude, demanding, discourteous, bloody-minded, and downright hostile, amongst other things, and these characteristics volunteered, and not as a responce to poor service. Customers have responsibilities too.
Improvement can be effected when both parties open a discussion.
The other thing is that the notion of 24/7 availability is a nonsence. I might argue that part of the destruction of the New Zealand way is exascebated by vastly extended business hours, including weekends, and the thought that a legitimate leisure time activity is shopping. Forgive me for being old fashioned, but I believe that shops being open five days a week with a late night ought to be sufficient - well maybe a Saturday morning if you must. There was a time when family was a leisure time activity.
Small business owners especially struggle to meet the demands of modern day consumers, whose expectations are sometimes unreasonable. Small business owners ought to be allowed to make a reasonable profit and have time off as well with their friends and family. I think the time is right for us to reflect on who drives the shopping impulse, certainly in the nice to have, not need to have sector. Brands and corporates manipulate consumers and we need to fight back...
There is a balance in all of this, and we really need to move away from the rampant consumerism that we are seduced into accepting.

But in closing, the most important aspect of the debate is some solidarity.
Local business needs local support.

And by the way, has Thames-ite looked at the demographics of Whitianga versus Thames. Thames-ite offering a qualified and informed opinion would be helpful. The adversarial stance offered by Thames-ite is not overly helpful.

January 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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