Keep shopping locally is the message from Ashburton retailers as they prepare for a new trading year.
Health 2000 owner Bob McDonald said feedback from business owners indicated good support from local shoppers in the lead-up to Christmas. Some customers said they had deliberately chosen to spend only in Ashburton as a sign of support.
After a year of Covid-19 and CBD roadworks, it was important that local support continue, he said.
‘‘Some retailers are doing well but others are struggling or being cautious about what they spend. It seems to be one or the other.
‘‘Some sectors are up, some are down, but generally speaking the town is doing pretty well.’’
An ongoing challenge was the beautification work in the CBD, with contractors finishing up on Tancred Street and moving onto East Street.
People are being advised to drive with care as parking and traffic flow will be affected.
Mr McDonald said retailers had been grateful for the local support but shoppers needed to keep coming back as the year progressed. ‘‘It is something that people need to realise … if they are not shopping locally those businesses may not be there in the long run.’’
Another challenge could be reduced farmer spending on the back of work to meet new freshwater regulations.
Two years ago, some 2500 people were in jobs in the town centre.
The Ashburton District Council is spending $15 million revitalising the town centre and Mr McDonald said Tancred Street was looking good after its treatment.
Tru-Line Civil will complete footpath paving and concreting there in the week starting January 18. The final touches, including street furniture, lights, gardens and parking sensors will be completed late January or early February.
Work on East Street will not require the same level of underground work and will begin with new stormwater infrastructure in four key locations; some intersections will be temporarily closed.
East Street traffic movements and parking will be affected by the work, so drivers should be aware of changes. Detours will be in place and pedestrian access remains.
Work on Burnett Street will also begin this month, beginning with new footpath outside the former Braided Rivers building. Burnett Street will become permanently one way (entering from Cass Street) from late February.