Business owners are worried about the effects of ‘‘pop-up’’ shops on the local economy.
Balclutha’s main street has no shortage of empty storefronts, which anyone can rent short-term to sell goods — often at a discount.
Emma Hutton, owner of clothing boutique Roots, has voiced concerns about ‘‘out of town’’ retailers competing with local outlets.
‘‘Times are tough throughout New Zealand and this economic climate has a lot of people struggling,’’ Mrs Hutton said.
‘‘I understand a pop-up store has every right to set up anywhere. I guess my major concern is the profit made from the pop-up store will be taken out of our community.’’
Two pop-up stores are in Balclutha this week.
One is Oamaru-based store and online-shopping service Style 358.
‘‘We have a very strong and loyal South Otago customer base and on many occasions we have been asked to bring our shop south,’’ Style 358 store manager Tracey Blackler said.
‘‘The timing is right . . . to show our customers our appreciation,’’ she said. ‘‘We have been in contact with Emma from Roots to address her concerns and said we would be mindful not to bring the same stock as she currently has in her store.
‘‘We are not coming in to step on anyone’s toes. Pop-up shops . . . are becoming more popular and as retailers, we all need to do what we can to stay ahead and embrace change.
‘‘When we are in town we will be supporting local hoteliers, restaurants, cafes, and the new movie theatre. [We have] had many pop-up shops in the past and it is something we will be continuing to do in the future.’’
Balclutha retailer Ladybird Junction’s owner Carmen Peterson shared Ms Hutton’s concerns.
‘‘Local business employs local people. We sponsor and support local schools, clubs and groups supplying prizes and sponsorship on a weekly basis — our money goes back into our community.
‘‘That pop-up shop that has just come into town for a few days, they won’t be supporting these causes. As soon as they close the doors, they’re off out of town,’’ Mrs Peterson said.
She wanted customers to understand their choices would affect whether the town’s main street was ‘‘deserted’’ or ‘‘ alive with rate-paying businesses providing goods and services face-to-face with their neighbours and the community’’.
‘‘If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it,’’ she said.
‘‘I think the public don’t realise what expenses a small business pays out each month . . . and if you don’t support local, eventually there will be less business in the community.’’