Pandemic no barrier to firms

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New family venture ... Steve King and his wife Vivienne, the new owners of The Station Cafe and Shop in Rangiora, with their eldest daughter Evania, aged 19, during a pre-opening function at the cafe last Sunday. It opened for business under the new owners on Monday.

By SHELLEY TOPP

Covid-19 has done little to put the brakes on new businesses opening in North Canterbury.

Twenty-eight enterprises have opened their doors since the lockdown, flying in the face of fears of tough economic times caused by the pandemic.

Enterprise North Canterbury business support manager Miles Dalton says it seems Covid-19 has given people the nudge to pursue their ideas.

The new businesses include a women’s fashion boutique and a menswear shop in Rangiora, a garage door business in Cheviot, and an “old-school cycle workshop” in Kaiapoi which closes on the weekends to allow the owner to go cycling.

Magpie Style owner Bridget Hope is extending her Ohoka women’s fashion business to include a boutique in Rangiora’s High Street, with the opening planned next month.

At the other end of High St, in the former Post Office building, former Canterbury representative cricketer Simon Murphy will open his men’s clothing and grooming store Dappermen next week.

Peter Page’s cycle business in Ohoka Road, Kaiapoi, is called Doctor Bike.

“Doctor Bike is a bicycle workshop, not a bicycle supermarket,” he says.

“I maintain and repair bikes of all types first and foremost. New bike sales are a bonus and the focus is on supplying the right bike, right size, right colour and right everything, not just selling what I have got. My customers buy bikes, I don’t sell them, I supply them after we have worked out what the right bike is.”

Meanwhile, Dean and Samantha Sangster have transferred their business, Summit Garage Doors, from Sydney to Samantha’s home town of Cheviot.

The couple returned to New Zealand in March and began operating in Cheviot in June.

They now run their business maintaining, servicing and installing garage doors in North Canterbury from Samantha’s parents’ sheep and cattle farm, Black Rock, in the Ethelton
Valley.

They are a month away from having their first child.The Sangsters are enjoying the slower pace of life in Cheviot, and are ‘‘very happy to be in New Zealand’’, Dean said.
‘‘It is lovely to be home,’’ Samantha says.

The new businesses also include a change of ownership for Rangiora’s Station Cafe, which is now owned by Steve and Vivienne King. The cafe, which now includes a gift shop,
reopened with a fresh look under their ownership on Monday.