Cheapskates Nelson owner Chris Kerby.

Retailer: Nelson is best

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A local retailer is closing his Richmond store to focus on Nelson, saying the city is a better place to do business.

Cheapskates Nelson owners Chris and Joey Kirby, say after seven years on Richmond’s Queen St they are shutting the store to concentrate on Nelson. Chris says turnover in Nelson is more than double what it is in Richmond, but rent doesn’t reflect that.

He says the introduction of Kmart and the Warehouse isn’t good for small business owners and he’s looking at Nelson as his primary market. “Everyone says Richmond is jacked up, we know that our return on our Nelson business is still higher than what we do out there. As a small business owner, the incoming Kmart and Warehouse dilutes the amount of money out there.”

He says the two shopping centres are like “two different regions” and Nelson people don’t generally shop in Richmond because the city still has more choice. “We treat Richmond as a more rural feel and Nelson is Nelson, they’re two different markets.”

There are no job losses over the closure, with all the Richmond staff moving to the Nelson store and Chris says he may still reopen a store in Richmond in the future.

Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan says there is a positive vibe amongst retailers and that free parking has helped.

“We’ve really turned the corner. We’re expecting July to be a very good month.”