ONE of Whanganui's newest small businesses is now part of Collective Whanganui.

Waireka Road Natural Products moved into an empty shop on Victoria Ave on May 10, after being offered the space by Mainstreet Wanganui.

Collective Whanganui is a Mainstreet initiative which offers local artists and crafters the opportunity to occupy rent-free an empty shop in the CBD. The owner of the building charges the artists no rent, but the building is still available for rent in the meantime.

The collective was set up in a bid to rid Whanganui's city centre of empty shops.

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Waireka Road Natural Products was, until recently, operating out of a private house in Whanganui East. Owner Denita Tizard said she "jumped at the chance" when she was approached by Collective Whanganui.

"I thought, why not give it go and see how it takes off in the centre of town?"

Mrs Tizard sells her handmade beauty and cleaning products, many of them made with lavender grown on her family's farm. She also holds workshops on how to make and use natural cleaning products.

"One of the great things about having this shop is that is has a lot more space. So I have enough room to hold workshops here, and I can even make my products here."

She's been in the shop a week and is delighted so far by the number of visitors to the shop, with people attracted by the delicious scents and Mrs Tizard's own colourful art gracing the walls.

For more information about Waireka Road Natural Products, visit www.wairekaroad.co.nz. And for more information about the Whanganui Collective, visit www.collectivewhanganui.com.