Subdued re-start for Cathedral Junction

CAROLINE KING
Last updated 05:00 19/12/2013

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Businesses in central Christchurch's recently reopened Cathedral Junction are struggling with slow trading.

Compared to across the road in New Regent St, it is quiet.

Business owners in the complex say it has been a struggle, the only exception being The Wood Scenic Line, which operates the trams.

Many owners have their own theory on what will help improve trade, including more car parks and other businesses opening.

Teri Tekii, the property manager for Cathedral Junction owner Equity Trust Pacific, who realises business has been slow, hopes events, including the World Buskers Festival, can be held there to draw people.

C Junction Convenience Store owner Vivek Ganta said business had been "slow" in the first two weeks, but had "picked up". His store has been open about three weeks.

Ganta said he was reassured by the number of "regular" customers - people working in the central city - coming in.

"Locals are coming in and having a look and buying something, even though they don't really need it . . . People have been really supportive," he said.

He believed business would improve further when the other vacant stores were occupied.

Twelve of the 19 sites have been filled, with talks under way with five other businesses.

Fantail Gifts owner Rebecca Slattery, first to open in the complex, had also found it "very hard" the first few weeks, but said: "I expected that".

Trade had increased, particularly since the trams started operating, she said.

Swiss Cafe owner Georges Guisolan said he was "over the moon" to finally return to Cathedral Junction after the quake forced him out almost three years ago.

However, he already had concerns at how quiet business had been.

"I might survive in the summer because there are five hotels around . . . I'm scared about the winter when tourists aren't there anymore."

He believed more car parks were needed, as well as more businesses, to attract locals back to the city.

Dong Xiang and his wife, Lynne Yu, who own the Nuztri store, said business was picking up slowly.

Yu believed many residents were still unaware there were businesses open in Cathedral Junction.

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