A how-to video, personal delivery of clothes to try and a rapidly built website — Te Puke businesses have been adapting smartly to operating under alert level 3.

The town is taking its first steps towards thriving again, as the retail and hospitality sectors find their feet and ways to meet customers' needs while sticking to separation rules.

At The Daily Cafe, where profits go back into the community through several social initiatives, a video has been created to show people the new procedures for buying food and drinks.

Trustee Jo Reha shot the video and describes it as "quirky".


"We knew people would be a little bit anxious around keeping social distance and what that looks like, so I thought 'I'm going to make a little fun video'. It's a bit like turning up to a party and not knowing what's polite in this situation. We've had some really good responses to it."

The cafe is providing a limited service and the kitchen is still being used to prepare and cook emergency meals to be distributed in the community.

Cafe manager Rochelle Moir says it is good to see regulars at the cafe again, and people have been making cash donations to help with the social initiatives of The Search Party Charitable Trust that runs the cafe.

Although her shop, Lynette's, is closing down Lynette Lochhead is still looking at meeting the needs of her VIP customers.

"I have a website to show what we have, but we're not selling on it," she says.

"But I am doing 24-hour appro for our VIP customers — they say what they are short of and I select it out of the shop and drop it off without being near them."

If customers decide they want to keep the garments, they can pay online, but if not Lynette collects them the next day.

"I've had so many of them ring and email me to say how gutted they are that I am closing, but also a few that wanted me to do an appro for them."


Te Puke Florist owner Murray Howell says he knows there have been customers who have ordered flowers simply to support his business.

"They've bought them for themselves and bought them just to help us start again, so that's really cool.

"Of course for us, we've got Mother's Day this coming weekend so that's a boost to us too."

Both he and florist Tessa Blaymires of Bayfair Flowers, which is run at her Te Puke home, are anticipating a busy few days because of Mother's Day.

Tessa says she is aware that during lockdown, growers had to throw away thousands of dollars worth of flowers that couldn't be delivered.

Marigold Cafe owner Justin Bruning says he has bought a cellphone especially for phone and text orders and he has brought the till closer to one of the two doorways. Orders are made at one door and collection at the other.

He decided he did not want to handle cash and says "a few people have had a bit of a whinge about it".

Giftrapt owner Marge Martelletti says her daughter Leanne got the shop's website up and running and able to accept online orders. She is delivering locally or people can collect orders and says it has been good to see regular customers — even if it is through the window.

"Local support [so far] has been great, but we need more of that and for people to think, 'if we shop in Te Puke we are doing a great service to the town'."

Just in time to protect customers from the weekend rain, a tunnel shelter was put up outside New World Te Puke last week.

Owner operator John Gray says it was a few weeks in the planning.

"During level 4 we started thinking, if it rained, there was going to be a problem and to be fair we did have a lot of feedback about that."

At 30m long, it can accommodate 15 queuing people.

As well as screens at checkout to protect operators and keep customers separate, the supermarket has a one-way aisle system, a limit on customer numbers and security.

John has been supporting the local takeaways by buying food for staff from them.

"It's going to be tough for some of them and if we can help in any way we can, we will."