With the hope of spring in the air, businesses the district over are flinging open their doors to welcome happy shoppers, eager to buy what they need to plant their garden, get stuck into some DIY or dine out with friends and family.

“Now that the weather’s warming up, it’s great to see people out and about,” said Mayor Ash Tanner. “Sunny weather always puts us in a better mood and often makes us want to spend some money.

“If you’re needing to grab something for the house, buy some new gear or go out for dinner, try and consider our local stores first,” he said. “We’ve got so many great businesses with great people behind them, they’d love it if you pop in and see what they have to offer.

Teena Cornes, owner of The Old Forge Kitchen in Te Aroha West, has already noticed an increase in customers since spring has popped its head up. “Good weather puts people in a celebratory mood and we love that people choose to come and celebrate with us,” she said.

Teena said they really felt the effects of Auckland’s recent lockdown with most of their group bookings cancelled after the city moved to Alert Level 3. “Because we are so central to Tauranga, Hamilton and Auckland, we were getting some really good bookings.”   

The district’s hospitality sector saw a nice boost over the weekend with families dining out for Father’s Day. “It was great. Our tables at the Old Forge were fully booked in advance, it’s great to see our group bookings pick up again,” said Teena.

Cr Kevin Tappin said the Matamata hospitality sector also noticed the effects of Auckland’s lockdown and there was a noticeable drop in riders using the rail trail. “The Auckland market plays a big role in our district’s tourism and hospitality sector, now that Auckland’s out of Alert Level 3, it’s good to see those customers starting to come back.”

When the country went into lockdown in March, Matamata-Piako District Council set up buylocal.mpdc.nz to help connect shoppers with local businesses and provide a free platform for business owners to showcase their services.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be bringing you the faces and stories of our hard working business owners, to encourage people to think local and buy local in this busy birthday season and in the lead up to Christmas.

Business owners are encouraged to add their details to the website and can also register to share their business story and we will share them across local and social media to encourage people to shop locally.