The chance of a fresh start away from the ravages and frustrations of post-earthquake Christchurch has turned sour for Michael and Chris Carr.

What looked like the perfect location to restart their art supplies business in Tauranga failed to convert into enough customers and they have joined the growing trend of closing-down sales.

The Carrs are offering huge discounts in order to clear their stock and move on with their life. Chris Carr said when they started Art Shed 14 months ago it looked the perfect location, across from the library and near the Art Gallery and Creative Tauranga. But they weren't counting on people's aversion to paying for parking. "Ninety-eight per cent of people say they don't like coming into town because of parking ..."

She also blamed Tauranga's shopping becoming too fragmented because of "bad town planning".

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"There is no vibrancy in the city centre ..."

Mr Carr said some of the people lured to the shop by the sale had told them it was the first time they had been into town to shop for two years, and it was because of the parking. Garth Mitchinson, the owner of Life Pharmacy which is shifting mid-August from Goddards Centre into the shop vacated by Supre, said the pharmacy had outgrown its premises.

Mr Mitchinson said Devonport Rd was becoming more of a focus for retailing while service-type businesses were going into other areas of the city centre. He said business was not as bad as people were saying. Earthquake strengthening and the recovery from the Global Financial Crisis meant the downtown did not look good but Life Pharmacy was still trading well.

Bill Campbell of Fancy That said the answer was free parking.

However the council needed to keep parking charges to pay for the new parking building. John Cousins