Retail boom buoys shop owners

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"It's buzzing" .. Jannz Craft Shop owner Janne Clare says the support has been "awesome". PHOTO: DAVID HILL

By DAVID HILL

Retailers are feeling the love as the North Canterbury town has become a destination again after Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

Jannz Craft Shop owner Janne Clare says the town is “buzzing”, especially during weekends, with visitors coming from Amberley, Nelson, Blenheim, Rolleston, Ashburton, Hokitika and Christchurch.

“It’s absolutely an awesome time. The are getting a lot of out-of-towners.

“Oxford is very much a destination at the moment and we are feeling well supported.”

Arts in Oxford is running an “Open House Project” until September 13, with seven North Canterbury artists in residence. Word is getting out, local artist Jo Ernsten says.

“We’ve had tonnes of visitors. It’s really good. A lot of people from all over Canterbury are coming to see what the buzz is about after seeing it on Facebook.”

She says the project means people can pop in and talk to the artists and see what they are doing.

“We had one elderly woman who came and sat down to do her knitting and talk to us. It’s all about connecting.”

Emma’s at Oxford store owner Emma Gillard says there has been “incredible support from the whole community”.

“People are making a definite effort to shop small and shop local. There has been a big mind shift. People who would normally go overseas are holidaying locally and people are driving around and spending in little shops.

“We still don’t know what the future holds or whether this is the new normal. But I’m standing here and moving forward.”

Nzulu store owner Shirley White says she has had visitors from as far afield as Dunedin and online customers in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It’s been going really well. I’ve had a steady flow of visitors, with a lot of locals and people from Rangiora and Ohoka coming in, so it’s really positive.

“I think the community as a whole has observed the fact that local businesses need their support and Oxford is becoming a destination again.”

Shirley says Oxford is “a beautiful place” with the scenery, walking tracks, museum and the farmers’ market being among the attractions.