Change is nothing new for Ponsonby, and now it's happening again, as more service-based retailers move in.
Fashion designer Tanya Carlson says population changes and the coronavirus pandemic are both having an impact on the area.
The retail store that carries Carlson's name has been on Ponsonby Rd for 15 years, opening in 2005 after she made the move from Dunedin.
Back then Carlson had to pay $25,000 in key money to take over a lease in the sought-after area. But in recent years, and since physical shopping opened up post-lockdown, the strip known for its eclectic mix of shops and its dining scene appears to be losing its sparkle.
Housed in "one of the young blocks", anchored by Mecca and Karen Walker, Carlson says she is lucky her shop is in a thriving zone, but elsewhere on the strip there are empty shops and new businesses opening to cater to an ageing demographic.
"It is the rise of skin clinics, physios, eyeglass shops, hearing [specialists] - it's an ageing demographic definitely," says Carlson.
"Yes, there's lots of amazing young people here ... but anyone with money is older."
Healthcare and wellbeing outfits began popping up on the strip about two years ago, but noticeably more so in recent months.
Carlson says this is probably the result of up and coming business owners and fashion designers not being able to afford the average $8000-$10,000 monthly rental on a Ponsonby Rd store.
"The rents aren't coming down anytime soon even though the strip is now filled with empty stores," says Carlson, adding that this is also partly due to construction work.
Limited parking and reduced foot traffic also make it hard for businesses to remain viable, she says.
"I'm at times really concerned around the foot traffic post-Covid; how we're going to go. When we first re-opened it was good, we had a lot of foot traffic for that first few weeks and people coming in and being really supportive, but that died off quite quickly.
"It's the first weeks of spring, and summer clothes are all going in, and it is extremely quiet."
Carlson also believes the opening of Westfield Newmarket and Commercial Bay in downtown Auckland had an effect on the vacancies and the changing types of stores in the area.
Helen Gao, owner of Ponsonby Rd Drycleaners, says business had slowed on the strip in recent years - for many stores.
She says her customers have been using her services for years but trading had become more difficult even before Covid-19.
"When I started here [eight years ago] it was very busy, but now it is quiet. It should be busy."
One 50-year Ponsonby resident, who did not want to be named, notes that there are now far fewer people renting in the area and the suburb has become very expensive.
Day spas, radiology clinics and other health and wellness businesses had been opening lately, she says, as older people who can afford such services move into the area.
Vivienne Rosenberg, general manager of Love Ponsonby - the area's business association - says Ponsonby's demographic and the types of businesses on its strip had "organically altered alongside the rest of Auckland".
The biggest age group among Ponsonby shoppers are 25 to 45, but she says there has been a rise in the number of older people frequenting the area.
Rosenberg says there are now 75-85 wellness businesses within Ponsonby alone - something she puts down to the general trend towards health and wellbeing, rather than any influx of older residents.
"Wellness is a huge category, but it's a growth category in Auckland," she says.
Rosenberg says Ponsonby, like other Auckland town centres, is facing challenges because of Covid-19, and there are more empty shops than usual.
But, she says, "our area has seen many tough times before and it keeps renewing and reinventing itself."