City business owners will be the face of a new buy-local campaign encouraging residents to spend their money locally.

Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Greerton mainstreets have united together to launch Buy Local. Buy Tauranga, a major multi-media campaign encompassing press, radio, billboards, showcase videos, a webpage, social media and digital.

The business owners are the focal point of the campaign.

Mainstreet Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke. Photo / Supplied
Mainstreet Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke. Photo / Supplied

Mainstreet Downtown Tauranga spokeswoman Sally Cooke said the initiative was all about "putting a human face on a campaign that connects emotively with residents".

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"Our local business community is made up of mums and dads, grandparents, sons, daughters, entrepreneurs and risk-takers who open their businesses every day and work tirelessly to provide products and services for our residents, visitors and tourists.

"Covid-19 has knocked our business community sideways and now, more than ever, we need to encourage residents to spend what they can on local business because when you spend locally you are helping to save local businesses."

Cooke said the campaign heralded a new collaborative platform for the city and acknowledged that Tauranga residents, visitors and tourists shopped across the city.

"We are saying that on any given day we want you to spend what you can, across our Tauranga business community, whether that is in Greerton Village, The Mount or Downtown Tauranga and maybe all three. Because if you do that, we all benefit."

The campaign features a major multi-media campaign of press, radio, billboards, showcase videos, a webpage, social media and digital collateral.

It comes after NZME, publisher of the Bay of Plenty Times, launched a regionwide GO LOCAL! media campaign encouraging people to buy local. The NZME campaign aims to complement hyper-local buy-local campaigns across the region.

Mount Mainstreet manager Mandy Gillgren said an innovative approach with Buy Local. Buy Tauranga was "critical" to helping businesses.

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Collaborating with other Mainstreet organisations "made sense" to Gillgren as some business owners had multiple stores across the city.

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Gillgren said Mount residents were eagerly awaiting their favourite stores re-opening in level 2.

"There is a feeling out there now of almost impatience, we are all very much looking forward to moving into level 2 this Thursday.

"We have something to celebrate here."

Greerton Village Mainstreet Manager Sally Benning. Photo / File
Greerton Village Mainstreet Manager Sally Benning. Photo / File

Greerton Village Mainstreet manager Sally Benning said the campaign was about profiling "our courageous local businesses".

"Every time you make a purchase in any of our local businesses it has a positive ripple effect across our community.

"We're not asking people to spend a lot, we're just saying spend what you can and when you do, try and spend it with a local business because now, more than ever, our local businesses need us."

Benning said some of those businesses had sponsored local sports clubs, teams, schools and many other good causes. "Well, now is the time for us to show our support for them."

The lockdown had been challenging for local businesses and the move to level 2 was "desperately needed" to allow more businesses to begin trading again, she said.

"I am excited to see this campaign help to push home the message that buying from your local retailers and service providers is the thing to do, for you, for them and for our centres."

Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell. Photo / File
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell. Photo / File

Mayor Tenby Powell said it was encouraging to see the city working together in a campaign squarely aimed at encouraging support for the city's "critically important small businesses" that were the backbone of the economy and created jobs and supported livelihoods.

Looking forward to getting back to business

Tauranga Menswear owner Mathew Manninen said he was nervous but happy to be re-opening his store in Greerton Village after being closed for more than seven weeks.

Tauranga Menswear happy to be open in Level 2.

"Obviously there has been a bit of nerves around the future of the businesses and not knowing when we were able to open again.

"Now there is a few nerves because we don't know the spending power of those who will be coming in."

Leeanne and Mathew Manninen of Tauranga Menswear ready to open in level 2. Photo / George Novak
Leeanne and Mathew Manninen of Tauranga Menswear ready to open in level 2. Photo / George Novak

Manninen said he and wife Leeanne used level 3 to give the shop a spruce up.

"It helped to take your mind off things and just being able to get back to work was better for our mental health being able to one, achieve things, and two, see there was light at the end of the tunnel."

Manninen said campaigns to support local businesses will help encourage people to spend locally and he was looking forward to seeing his customers again.

"For us, it is about community feel. That's what Greerton is all about."

Victoria Thomas of Pluto Juice Bar is looking forward to opening in level 2. Photo / George Novak
Victoria Thomas of Pluto Juice Bar is looking forward to opening in level 2. Photo / George Novak

Victoria Thomas, who owns Pluto Juice Bar in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga CBD, said having to suddenly stop trading was something no business owner ever planned for.

"It took my breath away," she said.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

But Thomas chose to spend lockdown looking at how to sell Pluto products wholesale, getting their salads into local supermarkets.

In level 3 people were able to order online for their soups, salads and smoothies to be delivered, but as predominantly a takeaway business Thomas was still waiting to hear how they could operate in level 2.

Thomas said her biggest mission, however, was trying to keep staff in jobs.

"That is our biggest fight. Shopping local means that the money is going to stay in the community and it is going to keep people in jobs. That is the most important thing."

Ian White of Yo and Co. preparing to be open in level 2. Photo / George Novak
Ian White of Yo and Co. preparing to be open in level 2. Photo / George Novak

Ian White, owner of Yo and Co. and Polar Dessert Bar Mount Mainstreet, said both businesses will be open in level 2.

Polar opened last week under strict serving rules and with a new website, but Yo and Co. would be operating on limited hours.

Ian White of Yo and Co preparing to be open in Level 2.

"From what I can see, most Mount businesses are thinking about the way they operate. Nobody wants to see a revert back to strict trading regulations again."

White said Yo and Co. will only open on limited hours mainly on weekends in level 2 due to the way it operates.

There will be a barrier system on entry and no inside seating as the shop is too small for customers to adhere to the 2m rule. Instead, there will be more seating placed outside.

Now that more businesses were allowed to open in level 2, White said it was important for people to shop local.

"We are going to see a shift in spending. But if they don't spend it locally, doors will be closing."

More importantly, White said, he encouraged people to post positive feedback for their favourite local businesses.

"Write a review, give it a like, a thumbs-up. That will have the most impact."