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Carterton’s NZ Craft closing down

Pam Veugelaers in front of the feast of crafty creations tucked away at the back of her store. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

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After six years of business, Pam Veugelaers is sad to call it a day for her NZ Craft store but will be putting up the closing signs this week.

She says it was purely a business decision and if Carterton had lured extra tourist dollars it wouldn’t have helped her shop.

Mrs Veugelaers almost shut up shop 16 months ago, but public support had encouraged her to carry on a little longer.

But now she says she simply can’t compete with businesses such as Lincraft and Spotlight.

“They [customers] are spending the bigger dollars in the other stores.

A closer look at some of the crafty creations tucked away at the back of the shop. PHOTOS/CHELSEA BOYLE

“The little stores really can’t compete.”

She said opening seven days was not the whole answer to saving small businesses.

NZ Craft had been open seven days a week for the first four years of operation.

“It didn’t work,” she said.

“For the first five years, I really put everything into it. All my time and finances.

“Basically, in the sixth year, I cut right back because there was no way I could keep up with it.”

Working as much she possibly could just left her feeling “burnt out”.

“Business owners are under tremendous pressure so to have them work seven days a week is a big ask.”

She said the problem for small business owners was more complex.

“Now, it’s a lot easier for people to travel, it’s not cheap, but people do tend to travel more than did in the 80s.”

A closer look at the individual bread loaves. PHOTOS/CHELSEA BOYLE

People used that mobility to hunt down bargains and buy just what they needed.

“There is literally nothing wrong with the town.

“The people are awesome.”

“We moved here from Upper Hutt.

“We have been in Carterton for seven years and I absolutely love it. I would never move back.

“I love the town. I would love to keep the store going.

“If I could possibly keep the business going I would.”

Last Christmas, Mrs Veugelaers spent almost $3000 on advertising and it was still one of the worst years for Christmas sales.

“We have an online store and even that was quiet.”

A closer look at the individual strawberries. PHOTOS/CHELSEA BOYLE

She said her Carterton store had a brilliant landlord, something she had really appreciated.

People had to stop blaming landlords because expenses were just part of running a business, she said.

She was also not critical of the number of crafters popping up in young generations.

“There are a lot of younger people taking it up, I actually think there is a bit of a spark in it.”

She wants to keep sharing her knowledge of quilting, crafting and knitting with others.

Mrs Veugelaers might just take some of the goods she sells to markets to save on rent and power while still making a trade.

“We hope to support the Carterton farmers market, which is a Sunday market.”

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