Don’t Mention the Empty Shops!!

Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in an era filled with PR and spin that I’ve become immune to a lot of the ramblings that somehow qualify as “news” or “as rote” from some Napier “leaders”.

For example, take this article from a recent edition of the Hawke’s Bay Today on how Napier retailers need to adapt to survive:

“online retailers and bricks-and-mortar stores aren’t mutually exclusive, and savvy retailers need two “faces” to thrive”

REALLY?? You don’t say!

Retail, more than most businesses is very Darwinian, in that it is constantly a case of “adapt or die”, so when online sellers become a threat, you counter that threat with your own online sales options, or taking to the likes of social media to drum up attention and custom.

That being said, though, nothing beats good, old fashioned, personal service and that is something a lot of Napier “bricks and mortar” retailers do very well, hence why they are still in business!

But the line in the article that really annoyed me – saying “Napier’s city centre is bustling, with few empty stores” is more than just a little disingenuous.

Even on its quieter days, central Napier is busier than its Hastings counterpart, for example. But “few empty shops”?

Lower Emerson Street averages at least half a dozen empty shops at any one time.

Mid-City Plaza (oxymoronically the place that is “For Lease” in the items picture) has been an empty, boarded up disgrace for years.

There was a lot of fanfare when it was announced Napier’s post office building would be saved and redeveloped, unlike nearby pre-earthquake buildings that met the wrecking ball (because they apparently don’t matter).

NZ Post returned to it’s rightful place as an anchor tenant, Vodafone and a new children’s clothing store moved in to new retail shops created in the redeveloped building, but at least half of these new shops are still empty months after work finished.

It’s more than just “a few”, it’s a waste and it doesn’t look good.

I think a better barometer for success in Napier’s current retail climate could have been gauged by a deeper, broader level of investigative journalism than used in the article.

Especially when the business leader quoted’s business receives a substantial amount of ratepayer funding each year from the city council for operating and promotion and is staffed almost entirely by a voluntary workforce.

I’m sure there would be absolutely NO empty shops in Napier if all its retailers were graced with such subsidised luxuries.

2 thoughts on “Don’t Mention the Empty Shops!!

  1. Hi, I would like to run a pop up shop over the summer in Napier. Would really appreciate some help. The name of the leasing agent of a few of these vacant shops. I can go fo the rest . Ill be in the Bay around mid December, would like to start the ball rolling now. Cheers

    • Hi Christine – Any of the local commercial real estate companies should be able to point you in the right direction. Just google “for lease” and “Napier” :)

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