Boutique stores good for city

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Nelson’s reputation as a boutique centre could help it bring more shoppers to the city, says the manager of the city’s retail promotions group.

The performance of Nelson’s central business district is the focus of an investigation by Uniquely Nelson and it’s now calling on all business people to have their say.

It’s already had one-on-one interviews with 32 representatives from various industries, but all with an interest of the city’s welfare. One common theme amongst the interviews was Nelson’s boutique offering, says Uniquely Nelson manager Cathy Madigan.

“One of the biggest things that has come out already – and it is preliminary – is the word boutique. It’s one of our strengths and I don’t mean that in just fashion retailers. I mean it in a broader sense. We have a lot of character and unique retail, arts and entertainment offerings here.”

She says Nelson, like other cities, is suffering from the “changing face of retail” and the boutique nature of the city is something that could help it attract more customers.

With stage one of the investigation complete, Uniquely Nelson is now opening it up to the rest of the city by hosting a planning workshop next month.

“We always need to be improving. I’m sure there will be some specific topics and discussions that will come up at this workshop, but we’re going to leave it to audience participation to find out what’s important. I hope it’s not just about free parking. I don’t think that’s the biggest issue facing us all,” she says.

The meeting will be held on October 7 at the Kowhai Lounge at NMIT, from 5.30pm. Full results of the investigation will be announced at Uniquely Nelson’s AGM on October 21