Mt Eden's main drag is a diverse stretch of road, including a jewellers, two book stores, a laundromat, a florist, two pharmacies and several beauty salons.

But ask anyone and they'll tell you the past five years have seen a slew of new eateries set up shop, and recently the butcher and the post office shut their doors.

Locals see the change as part of a natural evolution, and they like having more places to eat out.

Retailers also accept change is inevitable but say when there are fewer reasons for people to come to the village during the day, they won't come.

Advertisement

As rent in the area continues to rise they don't want falling customer numbers to worsen, which they say will happen if Auckland Transport goes ahead with plans to extend bus clearway hours in the evenings and axe carparks to make way for bus stops.

• READ MORE: Mt Eden residents demand a stop to bus stop extensions

Mt Eden Business Association chair and owner of Mt Eden OPSM, Steve Roper, said the shift toward more 'evening' businesses was a natural evolution. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Mt Eden Business Association chair and owner of Mt Eden OPSM, Steve Roper, said the shift toward more 'evening' businesses was a natural evolution. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Upon hearing the local stationery shop would be closing this month, taking the post office with it, Mt Eden pharmacists Lorraine Fletcher and Craig Hodgetts wouldn't stand for it.

"We can't have a village without a postal service," Fletcher thought, so the couple arranged for NZ Post to shift the whole lot down the road, private boxes and all.

They were setting up on Monday, while not far up the road the last of the old post office was dismantled.

"It's really just community need," Fletcher said of taking the service on.

"If there's the need we could expand to the other missing bits."

By that she meant selling stationery and magazines like they used to up the road, or filling other gaps as long-standing businesses closed.

"Otherwise people will go to malls, and we can't have that."

Mt Eden Pharmacy owner Lorraine Fletcher took over the postal service in the village after the Post Shop closed. Photo / Dean Purcell
Mt Eden Pharmacy owner Lorraine Fletcher took over the postal service in the village after the Post Shop closed. Photo / Dean Purcell

One business gone for good is the Pokeno butchery, which closed its doors in late March after the building's landlord chose not to renew the lease.

Owner Helen Clotworthy said she had been devastated, feeling she'd left customers in the lurch after nearly six years.

"I don't get it," she said of her landlord's decision not to renew the lease.

Helen Clotworthy in her butcher's shop, Pokeno Bacon in Pokeno, north Waikato. Photo / Doug Sherring
Helen Clotworthy in her butcher's shop, Pokeno Bacon in Pokeno, north Waikato. Photo / Doug Sherring

Locals, many of whom are retired, factored in errand runs to the village as part of a routine that helped them get out in the community, she said.

Clotworthy and her husband still sell meat in Pokeno but she misses her Mt Eden customers.

"We drove up and down every day for all those years. It's a privilege to stand behind a counter."

Mt Eden local Lizzie Walsh said she was sad to see old shops like the butchers go, but the proliferation of new restaurants was great for locals. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Mt Eden local Lizzie Walsh said she was sad to see old shops like the butchers go, but the proliferation of new restaurants was great for locals. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Locals spoken to by the Herald on Monday afternoon said a wider and better variety of cafes and restaurants had been setting up over the last five years or so, with a particular boom in the last year.

Lizzie Walsh has been in Mt Eden for 13 years.

It was nice having an array of services in the village and she'd been sad to see the butcher go, but at the same time it was great for locals to have more choice about where to eat, she said.

"That's just progress."

Optometrist Steve Roper, chairman of the Mt Eden Business Association, said change was normal and had its pluses and minuses.

"If somewhere closes and is replaced by a restaurant it's great for the village, but it's not great for day-time retail," he said.

Mt Eden business owner Frances Loo says retailers are being squeezed from both ends with rent rises and falling customer numbers. Photo / Dean Purcell.
Mt Eden business owner Frances Loo says retailers are being squeezed from both ends with rent rises and falling customer numbers. Photo / Dean Purcell.

Roper and fellow business association member Frances Loo were focused on fighting AT plans to extend clearway hours and introduce bus stops at the expense of car parks.

The potential customer loss that could follow concerned Loo because increasing land value in the area was already pushing up rents.

"We're being squeezed from both ends."