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‘Re-Imagining Kāpiti’ Event Poses Tough Questions For Kāpiti

A leading Retail Sector Expert has posed some tough questions for Kāpiti businesses, decision-makers, and town centres at the first Chamber business event for 2021.

Chris Wilkinson, Managing Director of the award-winning First Retail Group, says Kāpiti has a small window to make the most of the opportunities presented by the opening of Transmission Gully and the next stage of the Kāpiti Expressway.

“Since Covid-19 there has been a significant shift in consumer spending. Our values have been transformed, with people seeking ‘feel good’ spending on home and leisure experiences. Locally, many businesses have seen around 10% growth in retail spending, and in some cases up to 30%. With more people looking to move to, and work from, Kāpiti there are great opportunities for local businesses to leverage the unique culture of the Kāpiti Coast. There is a hunger for change.

“To be successful, we need to define ‘Kāpiti’s edge’ to tell its unique story to customers, particularly the changing younger demographic who are seeking diverse and fresh experiences. Retail sprawl is a challenge - creating clusters of complementary businesses that work well together like Raumati Village, can really encourage visitors to a destination,” says Chris Wilkinson.

Jacinda Thorn, Co-Chair of the Kāpiti Chamber, says there were many engaged businesses in the room who are also hungry for change.

“Chris shared key insights on the retail sector and ideas on how we can move forward. The depth of passion in the room came to light through an engaging Q&A session. Our businesses want to have the conversation, and they also want to see our Council and other stakeholders such as property developers help drive this necessary change.

“To make the most of the small window open to us, there needs to be a proactive partnership between Council and Business to identify our edge, tackle business and commercial sprawl and create clusters of complementary businesses before we miss the boat.

“As our businesses deal with another Covid-19 level change, our local businesses need this practical support from the Council and other stakeholders sooner, rather than later. We know businesses are ready for the challenge, are our community leaders?” asks Jacinda Thorn.

The Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce exists to advance the economy by creating wealth and employment and solve local business issues by providing a collective voice for business in Kāpiti. Over 300 members in Kāpiti belong to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce to stay connected, network and gain knowledge and support from our local membership.


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