HomeNEWSGore store Carvin Streetwear takes out Top Shop for the Lower South Island

Gore store Carvin Streetwear takes out Top Shop for the Lower South Island

Carvin’s owner, Chanelle Purser, says because Gore is a small rural community, her business doesn’t have the luxury of targeting a particular demographic: “We sell to 80-year-olds and also 18-year-olds. They’re pretty groovy 80-year-olds, though.”

Purser this morning said she had had a “maniac” day in the store after promising to take 10 percent off for every award Carvin won at Top Shop. Four awards equalled a 40 percent sale, and intense customer interest. The business was overdue for a winter sale anyway, Purser says.

When she first opened the store, Purser says, she had no retail experience. It was opened because she wanted a store with good service, and it’s this focus on customer service to which she attributes the shop’s success.

“It doesn’t matter what else happens, just make sure that the customer feels awesome when they leave.”

Purser believes great service is about being attentive and finding out what the customer wants without intruding on them. This will usually involve a connection and a conversation: “For the first couple of minutes it might not even be about something in the store, it’s just building up a connection with a customer so they feel like, ‘This person is here to help me, they’re not going to stitch me up.’”

Purser took the unusual step in October of winding down Carvin’s ecommerce operation and relaunching the website as a marketing tool. The store had been running for three years and while the first year was excellent, competition with “the big guys” eroded its impact over the latter two.

Carvin is now active across social media and customers make sales enquiries directly through these channels. Purser says it does just as much online business this way.

“We don’t actually need the website now because we already have that connection with our customers.

After 10 years in business, Purser and her staff now have a great connection with customers. They’ve watched their young customers grow up and are now onto the second generation.

Retail NZ’s chief executive Mark Johnston says Carvin won the People’s Choice and Retail Professional categories in last year’s Top Shop awards.

“It’s fantastic to see them build on this success and win top prize for the region this year,” he says. “The judges who visited the store were impressed by its presentation and the professional, engaging customer service.”

He praised all contestants, saying the best stores are selected based on a judging process which includes two in-store assessments and a panel selection across a broad range of store types, including national chains and independent boutiques.

“The Retail NZ Top Shop awards celebrate all those who have achieved retail excellence over the past year, and aim to lift the bar of retailing in New Zealand.”

Besides the top award, Carvin also won the Single-Store OmniChannel and Small/Single-Store awards, and manager Jess Pulham won the Retail Professional award.

Training provider ServiceIQ sponsors this category. Its retail sector manager Clare Savage, who also judges the award, says of Pulham: “She’s a dynamic and proactive manager with great skills in sales, marketing, stock buying and product knowledge.” 

“She also has a great command of social media and uses new technology to continue to build this popular retail business.”

Pulham credits her achievement to her supportive employer.

Carvin and Pulham will go on to compete against the other regional winners for the National Supreme Awards in Christchurch on September 3.

Full list of the Lower South Island winners:

Fashion & Footwear sponsored by The Register

Winner – Decode (Queenstown)

Runner up – Ziera Dunedin

Food & Beverage sponsored by Meridian

Winner – Pineapple Bakery (St Kilda, Dunedin)

Runner up – Z Queenstown

Home & Garden sponsored by Westpac

Winner – Mitre 10 Mosgiel

Runner up – Simply Furniture (Dunedin)

Jewellery & Giftware sponsored by Union Pay

Winner – Pandora Dunedin

Runner up – Jamie’s Jewellers (Alexandra)

Lifestyle & Sports sponsored by Spark Business

Winner – BASE 2 (Wanaka)

Runner up – Stirling Sports Gore

Technology & Electronics sponsored by RightWay

Winner – Spark Invercargill

Runner up – Spark Balclutha

Retail Professional sponsored by Service IQ

Winner –  Jess Pulham, Carvin Streetwear (Gore)

Runner up – Shannon Read, Mitre 10 MEGA Dunedin

Small/Single-Store sponsored by Retail NZ

Winner –  Carvin Streetwear (Gore)

Runner up – Decode (Queenstown)

Single-Store OmniChannel sponsored by Mastercard

Winner – Carvin Streetwear (Gore)

Runner up – Vortex 12D Cinema (Queenstown)

National/Multi-Store sponsored by Visa

Winner – Student Flights Dunedin

Runner up – Flight Centre Mosgiel

Multi-Store OmniChannel sponsored by Z Energy

Winner –  Warehouse Stationery Invercargill

Runner up – Acquisitions Dunedin

People’s Choice sponsored by The Hits

Winner –  Z Valley (Kaikorai Valley, Dunedin)

Runner up – Z Mosgiel

Regional Overall Winner sponsored by.99 & NZME

Winner –  Carvin Streetwear (Gore)

Runner up – Spark Invercargill

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