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HomeNEWSRegional rollercoaster: Greymouth

Regional rollercoaster: Greymouth

How are retailers in Greymouth adapting to our dynamic business environment? As part of a nine-part series, we took a look.

This decade has been tough for Greymouth, starting with the 2010 Pike River mine disaster that killed 29 men. In 2015 the closure of coal company Solid Energy left a$50m hole in the local economy and took 1700 permanent jobs. Online shopping and earthquake strengthening have added to its economic woes. 

The last apparel retail chain in town, Postie, closed in March 2018. But resilient local businesses have adapted to survive. 

One of these is women’s clothing store Victoria’s. Owner Vicki Molloy tries to cater for everyone: “We go from affordable to more expensive”.

Customers include locals to people in Invercargill, Auckland and Australia. There are regulars who drive over from Christchurch to shop, while someone in Paris recently bought five pairs of trousers over the phone. The travel-friendly Verge slacks sell in the hundreds to visitors and locals. 

Last year was “okay” but, out of 17 years in business, not one of her best. Greymouth has had its ups and downs but “you’ve got to be positive, you just suck it up and do it”.

Molloy launched a website in 2018 and started marketing on social media. “We’re getting into the swing of it now and it’s going fantastic.”

District councillor Tania Gibson says the council is working on creating a “CBD master plan” to tap into the tourist market and create a more exciting town centre, with green spaces and an artisan sector. 

Gibson, who owns the Sorbet Hair Company and is running for mayor this year, says Greymouth needs investment in new buildings to encourage business. More accommodation, cafes, bars and restaurants will add vibrancy. 

Check out other articles in the series:

Why some Kiwi towns are rising while others struggle

Paihia

Tokoroa

New Plymouth

Bulls

Kaikoura

Arrowtown

Selling to the Kardashians from Matiere

This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 760 February/March 2019

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