Business appears to be thriving in Kamo.

The north Whangarei suburb is experiencing significant growth as a result of people moving to the area.

And this growth has seen one local business expand to meet some of the new demands and expectations of newcomers.

Trish Ford, who started the Kamo Community Fitness Hub in 2015, has shifted her beauty and fitness interests into new, larger premises on the corner of Kamo and Station Rds going by the new name of Raor Beauty & Fitness Studio.

Trish Ford of Raor Beauty & Fitness Studio which combines massage and beauty therapy with affordable fitness classes. Photo / John Stone
Trish Ford of Raor Beauty & Fitness Studio which combines massage and beauty therapy with affordable fitness classes. Photo / John Stone

She said steady growth in the Kamo area over the past year was behind the decision to upscale.

The property and building boom had brought a lot more families to the area and with this had come increased traffic pushing demand for local services and facilities to save travel time to the city centre, she said.

"We are seeing more businesses setting up here as leases are more affordable. Only a few years ago most of the shops, particularly north of the [traffic] lights, were barren and we were warned not to move there.

"Now we are seeing all the shops filling up with fun, quirky little businesses and most importantly they are being supported and are surviving."

Ms Ford said coupled with this population growth in Kamo was an increasing trend across the country for healthier living, meaning people were more aware of the benefits of exercise and were seeking out gyms and group fitness classes.

She said more local women in particular were searching for what both aspects of her business, fitness and beauty, had to offer.

"Having a child-friendly space has also proven really successful and another drawcard," she said.

Ms Ford's Raor Fitness business partner is Glennice Leslie. Raor Beauty has two other contractors - Angela Williams (electrologist) and Penny Honey (cosmetic tattooist).

"At the beginning of this year we had around 12 memberships and 40 casuals, now we have around 25 paying members with 60 to 70 casuals. The beauty space has stayed consistent."

The "Raor" in Raor Beauty & Fitness Studio comes from the word "extRaordinary" with the company tagline being - "Look extraordinary. Feel fierce", she said.

"Since our rebrand we have steadily grown our client base and memberships. In the past three months alone we have doubled our membership which called for us to seek our bigger venue at 426 Kamo Rd."

She credits the success of her business to re-investing back into the enterprise and really pushing the "support your local" theme.

"Kamo doesn't have any other fitness options and we are excited to be the first to get something properly established here."

Ms Ford's career as a massage and beauty therapist began seven years ago with her Something Beautiful home-based business.

Just over two years ago she started the Kamo Community Fitness Hub based out of the local rugby club. It grew in popularity offering affordable fitness classes, however she needed a new venue and decided to move both into a new studio across the road at 426 Kamo Rd.

Raor Beauty & Fitness Studio opened at the new location, the former Charlotte Dawn site, on June 26 and will have an official opening on Friday, July 14 from 5pm.

Population growth generates more business activity in Kamo

Lindsay Caley, chairman of Kamo Community Inc, said the Kamo business community has been evolving recently with a noticeable rise in the number of food outlets and restaurants in particular.

He believes this relates to the centralising of banking facilities last year to the CBD but at the same time there had been a surge in growth from new housing in all areas in and around Kamo, from Three Mile Bush Rd in the west to the golf course area in the northwest and across to Totara Parklands in Tikipunga in the east which is now bustling with new residents, mostly owner occupiers.

This population growth was generating more business activity in the Kamo village, he said.

Mr Caley said he understood more than half the new arrivals in Totara Parklands were from Auckland.