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Chocolatiers in trouble without Auckland chocoholics

August 24, 2020

Chocolatiers in trouble without Auckland chocoholics

BENNETTS DUTY MANAGER TRACEY NEWMAN SAYS THE LOCKDOWN HAS AFFECTED THEM IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. PHOTO: Matt Scott

Retailers relying on local customers north of the Auckland border are counting the days until Sunday when Aucklanders can return to their stores.

Nougat is off the menu and business has slowed at Bennetts, a handcrafted chocolate shop in Mangawhai.

Bennetts duty manager Tracey Newman says a lack of customers from the supercity has slowed business.

“Last weekend it was really noticeable. We really rely on [customers from Auckland].”

The chocolate makers have also taken a popular ingredient from the shelves as a crucial staff member lives south of the Auckland regional border.

“One of our chocolatiers hasn’t been able to come into work, which is a shame as he’s the only one who makes the nougat - we had to cancel our orders.

“There are so many scenarios that are affected.”

Northland being cut-off has meant that businesses have had to rely on local business, Ms Newman said.

“The majority [of customers]  are from the Auckland area or are travellers who come up from the south - but now they can’t get through Auckland. It’s basically cutting Northland right off.

“We are relying one everybody up here to come out.”

Other Mangawhai retailers have also felt the pinch.

Alison Jacomb, the owner of Kakariki Health and Wellbeing, has had few customers during lockdown.

“It’s been quiet without the Aucklanders.”

Ms Jacomb said Aucklanders aren’t the majority of her customers, but they are vital to her survival.

“They are the ones who keep my business afloat.”

Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai said Northlanders have been travelling locally during this lockdown, which will help Northland retailers and tourism operators.

“It has encouraged us to look at our own backyards and holiday at home.”

With today’s announcement of level 3 restrictions continuing until at least Sunday night, Northland retailers will have to rely on the locals for a little while longer.

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