Nelson businesses in the central city have had some of the best months in recent memory as locals support local and visitors spend their money around the country rather than overseas.
At last week’s Uniquely Nelson AGM there were plenty of reports from CBD businesses that suggest the worst is behind them.
“Nelson is punching above its weight compared to other similar towns,” says Uniquely Nelson’s Simon Duffy. “There is a positive nervousness.”
Kevin Hopgood of Hopgood’s and Co Restaurant and Bar says that this past winter has been one of his best in 11 years.
“We have had lots of local and New Zealand support. For the first ever time we have made a small profit. Usually we are very lucky to break even in the winter, and sometimes even run at a loss and then make it back in summer.
“It’s very reassuring.”
Kevin says they recently had a bank report which put 30 per cent of the restaurant’s revenue coming from overseas credit cards. Now that was being more than filled by locals.
“It’s massive support but we do have a bit of a captive audience now. We have had a lot of people who would usually go on an overseas holiday say that they want to support local instead.”
Glen Beattie of Beetees says, since the women’s clothing store came out of Level 2, they have done better than expected.
“People have really been shopping locally and October was probably the best month we have ever had.”
He says the store’s regular clientele have been particularly supportive.
“We aren’t quite back to what we lost overall through Covid-19 lockdown, but we are not far off.”
Gus Beullens of menswear store Gustaves says they are continuing to slowly but surely recover out of lockdown.
“We have had lots of New Zealand domestic people travelling around the country doing roadies. That’s been a help and the local people have been shopping locally.”
He says the amount of money that would usually be spent overseas by Kiwis is now “sloshing around” in New Zealand.
“That’s good, but we have a long way to go.”
Simon from Uniquely Nelson says the challenge, particularly for hospitality businesses, is now to get staff, as usually roles are filled by overseas travellers.
“But it’s all positive. Through adversity it has brought the city businesses closer together as a community. It’s quite bonding for them and working more closely together.”