Te Awamutu businesses are starting to bounce back from Covid, but ongoing price hikes and supply issues remain a concern.
“There were real challenges when we were locked down, but as soon as we opened up, we bounced right back,” said Red Kitchen owner, Megan Priscott.
Priscott and her husband Matthew opened their Mahoe Street café, Red Kitchen, 12 years ago.
She says right now business at their café is “probably a bit better than it was before Covid.”
She attributes this to a strong customer base and the easing of Covid related restrictions
“Everyone who walks through our doors, we feel quite lucky to have them,” she said.
Red Kitchen’s biggest challenge now getting the goods they need for a reasonable price.
“(Supply issues) have hugely affected our prices… the cost of the raw ingredients, the cost of the goods, the cost of kitchenware, whether it is New Zealand made or imported,” said Priscott.
“We accept that it is part of the process that the world is going through now, but there is not one area of the business that isn’t affect by supply. Sometimes I look at a product and get embarrassed that it is on the shelves for that price, but it is the same everywhere.”
Sewing store owner Teresa Reymer was also affected by supply issues, but was thankful that the crafts industry boomed during Covid.
“The limitations on travel and lockdowns meant that people had spare time. A large number of people spent the time working on existing craft projects, learning a new craft or reigniting an old interest in sewing and knitting,” she said.
However, supply issues are her primary concern.
“Almost all of our stock is imported, coupled with the increase in worldwide demand for product, it had a huge impact on our business.
Te Awamutu Business Chamber chief executive Shane Walsh said these concerns are understandable, but local businesses are resilient.
“The cost of living is up, and people are tightening their belts and are maybe not spending as much as they used to, so some retailers would be feeling that,” he said.
“I think businesses here are quite resilient, and have suffered a lot through Covid, there was a lot of stress and everything. But they now see a bit of rosy future, and that is quite uplifting.”
Priscott shares that optimism.
“The outlook is good, we expect it will carry on like this and we will continue to be busy. (For consumers), I think it is about being more savvy, buying what you need and enjoying it more.”