Nelmac’s Linda Vandercolk and Paul Andrews hanging up baskets in 2015. Photo: Brittany Spencer

Shops hanging out for more baskets

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Local retailers are calling out some national chain stores for not getting behind the Nelson City Council’s hanging basket programme.

The council is considering ways to encourage more stores to take part and recently sent out a survey to get more information on possible barriers.

Last summer, 75 businesses took part – but local store owner Glen Beattie from Beetees says he would like to see the gaps filled.

“It’s a shame the majority of chain stores don’t seem to participate,” says the Trafalgar St retailer.

“When it comes to local promotions they seem happy to ride on the back of local retailers, but not contribute – and a lot of them don’t – when you walk along the street in summer, you’ll see that.”

The initiative costs about $80,000 per year, and CBD stores are charged $40 per hanging basket, or $120 if they are outside of the city centre.

“$40 per basket is a very cheap investment to assist in brightening up the CBD area and the more we can do to encourage it to look good and encourage people to come here, the better,” Glen says.

Store contributions account for about 25 per cent of the total costs, with the remainder coming from the council and parking meter revenue.

Managing director of locally owned Taylors Shoes, Craig Taylor, also says the $40 fee “is a small part to play”.

Nelson Weekly spoke to several store managers who have never participated in the programme, and it seemed to be a case of them wanting to participate, but not being allowed to.

Cotton On Nelson store manager, Ashley McCabe says her head office makes the call.
“I’d do it if it were up to me.”

But Anja Rausch of chain footwear store Hannahs, says their head office willingly pays the fee.
“It has a big impact for us.”

Nelson City Council spokesperson Paul Shattock says responses to the survey had been largely positive but there were always retailers who chose not to take part.

The hanging basket programme started in 2000 and wouldn’t be possible without hundreds of community volunteers and Nelmac staff.

Paul says the plants have been ordered for this season, and they are planning for 600 baskets this summer, which be up from early December until around Easter.