Struggling Sumner businesses join forces

Last updated 05:00 26/04/2013
Sumner Business Association,

TOUGH TIMES: Kath Cross and other members of the Sumner Business Association have been working hard to entice customers back.

Relevant offers

The Rebuild

The mystery of Christchurch's moving church dedication stone Communal living in the Christchurch's residential red zone? Labour commits to Christchurch commuter rail in $100m package 'Significant issues' with Christchurch justice and emergency services precinct development Christchurch Mayor 'blindsided' by synod cathedral decision Designs for New Brighton playground and pools revealed, promised to be built by Christmas Editorial: A 'new' New Brighton? You're soaking in it Hunt for water blasters whose mistake contaminated Kaiapoi home with asbestos City council investigating Christchurch tram extension, further expansion a possibility Strong opposition doesn't stop cash injection for New Brighton salt water pools

Photographs and footage of rockfalls and houses teetering on clifftops did little to help business in the seaside town of Sumner after the February earthquake.

"It looked shocking. It became apparent very quickly we needed to get together and help [improve] the public perception," Sumner Business Association facilitator Kath Cross said.

Once the containers were in place and it was safe, businesses worked together to encourage locals and tourists back to the area.

The 30 businesses advertised collectively in local print media, set up the Sumner Village website which lists local businesses, and held two street parties and other events to get Christchurch thinking about Sumner as a destination for dining, relaxing and shopping, Cross said.

The business group has published a tourist brochure for the village which is in place at i-Site, the Christchurch information centre, and other South Island locations.

It was hard to measure the benefits but there were now tourists walking around Sumner with the brochure in their hands, she said.

Her own business, The Cornershop Bistro, had seen a dropoff in evening patrons from Christchurch during the week, and now relied predominantly on local customers. The businesses were all working hard to share that pie, she said.

Salt Bar Cafe and Restaurant was one of the first businesses in Sumner to reopen after the earthquakes. Co-owner Carolyn Hereora said Salt reopened as soon as power was restored, three weeks after the quake, and served as a place for people to meet.

"There was nothing else out there."

Now, with more businesses open and fewer people living in the area, the restaurant was not as busy as it had been then.

"Business is so fickle, like the weather," Hereora said.

But the joint marketing opportunities created through the association had helped alleviate that.

The marketing effort to coax people from the city to Sumner was proving successful. While a street party did not necessarily translate into a full restaurant, each event meant an extra handful of customers per business that they otherwise would not have had.

There was strength in numbers, she said.

"Because everyone is basically owner-operators, juggling their family and their business, with everyone together doing it, it takes the pressure off."

Business is still a struggle for Village Grape owners Debbie and Wayne Hardaker.

Still operating out of containers and a tent after the earthquake damaged their Mariner St building, they are still waiting to hear when their landlord will rebuild their premises.

Half their customer base disappeared after the earthquakes as people moved out of the area, and there were fewer tourists than before the quakes.

It was important for people to support their local businesses, and that was the key driver of the Sumner Business Association - to encourage residents to shop locally, Debbie Hardaker said.

Ad Feedback

- The Press


Special offers
Opinion poll

Is it worth spending extra to repair heritage buildings?

Yes, Christchurch needs to invest in its heritage buildings

No, we should embrace modern design if it is cheaper and quicker

Only some heritage buildings are worth the money

Vote Result

Related story: Landmark church nearly $1m short

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content