It's a sad time for the Craft Country shop in Featherston.

A lack of sales has forced the contemporary craft and design store to close at the end of the month.

After almost three years in the town, co-manager Emma McCleary said it was a difficult decision to make with fellow crafter Michele Sanford.

"We are really sad to shut the shop. It was a huge decision, people really loved the shop and we loved running it"


Ms McCleary said she felt guilty about leaving another empty store in Featherston as it already has a "whole lot of empty shops".

But realistically, the store wasn't making enough money, she said.

A decline in sales and a tough winter had contributed to the closure.

"I think it's definitely a sign of the times," said Ms McCleary.

She said other retailers were also feeling the pinch and she met a Petone retailer who said it had been the worst August since 2007.

Locals needed to buy locally, she said, to keep businesses alive.

Ms McCleary said she was dubious about council candidates saying they would bring business to the region.

"What will keep shops open is whether locals will shop there."

"If you like something, you have to shop there, put your money where your mouth is"

A lack of volunteers also made it hard to run the business, she said.

"We needed more volunteers but we didn't really have any interest."

She said after announcing the closure, people came forward saying they would have volunteered but it was a case of "too little, too late."

Ms McCleary said they had considered other options such as asking stockists if anyone wanted to take it on.

She said it was uncertain if they would open again in the future but all the stockists' crafts were available online.

Ms McCleary also has her own online outlet called Emma Makes.

"It's the end of Craft Country but not the end for us."

The store was founded by Natalie Friend and Michele Sanford before Ms McCleary came on board.

The store has held various community events and is to hold one last event - a launch of Featherston writer Johanna Knox's new book.

Her last book made the finalist list of the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards and her second book, The Sundew Stalks, will be launched on Sunday at 2pm.

Ms McCleary and Ms Sanford will not be holding their annual popular craft fair in Greytown this year.