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Revival of late night shopping

Sarah Dandy is happy with the uptake of Friday night shopping in Eketahuna. PHOTOS/TOM TAYLOR

Shops on Eketahuna’s main road are open until 7.30pm every Friday until Christmas, in a bid to revive the tradition of late-night shopping.

Maison Giftware and Homeware owner Sarah Dandy had rallied Eketahuna businesses to stay open on Friday nights through December.

“From the op shop to [adult store] Tabu, it’s been fantastic,” Dandy said.

Her cafe, The Lazy Graze, would also stay open for shoppers to stop in and get a free glass of sherry.

“It’s bringing all the town and business people together by opening up, and just making a bit of a thing about Friday nights in Eketahuna,” Dandy said.

“We did it last year to see how it would go. It started off really quietly, but by the end it was huge.”

Before 2019, late-night shopping had not been seen in the town for many years, Dandy said.

A billboard advertising the shopping led to a lot of customers coming down from Pahiatua in 2019, Dandy said.

To promote this year’s late-night shopping, Tararua District Council gave storeowners “Shop Local” flyers to put in their windows.

“That wasn’t going to cut it,” Dandy said.

“You actually have to be a bit proactive about it and tell people why they should shop local.”

Dandy put notices in the community newsletter to further promote the shopping.

Vintage boutique Retro Republic owner Joanne Scaife said business was relatively quiet last Friday – the first of the Christmas season. Dandy attributed this to foul weather and hoped business would pick up this Friday.

Op shop manager Denise Gavin said that despite the weather, there had been a small increase in business last Friday.

Warwick Delmonte wants more Masterton businesses to get behind Thursday night shopping.

Meanwhile in Masterton, Paper Plus was the last remnant of the late-night Thursday tradition.

“This is not a late-night shopping town,” owner Warwick Delmonte said.

More businesses needed to stay open to attract people into the town on Thursday nights, Delmonte said.

“It’s just another example of a slight lack of co-ordination in the CBD, which needs to be addressed.”

Delmonte said that Paper Plus had been busy in general, with two weeks left before Christmas for business to pick up further.

The store was open until 9pm last Thursday and would continue with late-night Thursdays until Christmas.

Delmonte said the store’s book club on Thursday night brought more people in, though he said, “They mainly read wine labels.”

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