It’s no surprise that local towns and communities are encouraging everyone to shop local even more than usual this year, after months of lockdown and so many shops and businesses unable to trade. In Wellsford, the local business association, Wellsford Plus, has organised a concerted campaign to encourage everyone to do their Christmas shopping in town, with a chance to win prizes if people spend $20 at any three of 25 local businesses.
But how well equipped is the town for festive buying? Can people find everything they want and need for Christmas? Mahurangi Matters asked a selection of locals whether they would be buying local and what they thought of Wellsford shops …
Caroline said Covid had prompted several local businesses to trade in a different way, and there was plenty of choice.
“Quite a few businesses have been trying to do things a little differently such as people delivering things like produce, eggs and even cakes.”
However, she said the biggest challenge in Wellsford was the lack of a supermarket because of the pricing.
Kath was another keen local shopper.
“Yes, I am. Even with Covid, I’ve not been to Warkworth to shop. I shop at the Four Square.”
She said the town was well served for gifts – “I love Hobbs!” – but was lacking in a few key areas.
“We haven’t got childrenswear. It was a big blow when Postie closed, and the sports shop – I always bought my walking shoes from Sandy. But we shop here as much as we can.”
Rosina said there was plenty of choice in Wellsford if you knew where to look.
“Yes, I shop locally. You can get most of what you need here,” she said. “If you look around there are a lot of good ideas for gifts. People often just go to The Warehouse, but there’s great stuff here.”
However, she thought the town did need a shoe shop.
Jane and granddaughter Hazel said they would definitely be shopping local this Christmas.
“We will. We’ve got quite a lot of choice here,” Jane said. “Another clothes shop would be good, since we lost Postie. But there are plenty of toys for my granddaughter.”
Wendy, Stella and Nancy were enjoying a coffee outside the new Rusty Station reuse shop.
Wendy said she hadn’t really started Christmas shopping yet, but would be buying local whenever she could.
“I’ve already been to Tina’s for something for my grandson, whose birthday is on December 24,” she said.
Stella said the local shops were great, but there were a few gaps in the market.
“We need clothes and shoes, we haven’t got those. Especially cheaper clothes shops – we used to have Postie. We even used to have Farmers in Wellsford, way back.”
Nancy said there were some great shops for gifts, such as Hobbs, Drummers, Tina’s and the health and wellness shop.
“But we need a shoe shop and a sports shop. That would be great.”