I have to say that I am in awe of how some businesses, business owners and recently unemployed are managing the times we find ourselves in.
I have used this column to encourage locals to get out and support local businesses so that we keep the wheels of commerce and, more importantly, money moving and circulating. And that isn't going to change.
Indeed, this is even more important now that Auckland, our biggest economic venue, is moving down the levels – yo-yo-ing through levels is not good for confidence. However, where confidence is growing or embedded, economic activity tends to rise or be sustained.
Which is why, in spite of national uncertainty, it was great last Saturday night to see positive confidence in action with people out and about and spending time and money with hospitality providers.
We are all well aware by now that retail, hospitality and tourism businesses are hardest-hit by the restrictions implemented to counter the virus. As the country has moved up and down and up again through levels most "people-facing" businesses have been severely affected where they were not deemed to be "essential".
Some of this made perfect sense, with evidence of outbreaks starting in nightclubs for example, while others (like the closure of fruiterers and butchers) were downright nonsensical. All of these made the "we are all in this together" mantra harder to swallow for some than others.
However, it has been great to see the community responding in levels 1 and 2 – together with businesses being creative and innovative with their offerings. And it is possible that soon businesses will have to innovate again as masks move closer to being a mandatory requirement in all settings.
One such business that requires congratulations is the High-Kut bistro in the Avenue.
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Ever since the Ceramic Bar and Bistro closed (much to our regret) there was limited choice in Whanganui terms of high-quality dining. After a number of friends had made recommendations after really good experiences, we decided to belatedly celebrate our wedding anniversary with a visit.
In short, it was outstanding. I read in a previous article that the owner and chef (Kelvin Huang) previously worked at Ceramic and wanted to use a small space to accentuate the customer experience. The result is an excellent blend of delicious food and great service. So, like our group of friends who have had a positive experience, I thoroughly recommend that you try them out.
It is also encouraging to see that, even in 2020, young entrepreneurs are getting into business and having a go. It is also great to walk down the lower Avenue and see the activity and capture the aroma of chefs doing what they do best.
In closing, I have to say that the term "essential business" needs to be dropped asap from the vernacular (kind of like "new normal" and "tricky virus").
Every business is essential in its own way – from its contribution to the community, to its contribution to livelihoods, to the people it employs and to the tax it generates - which pays for public systems and assets.
And our support is more than essential to ensure local businesses are successful and remain here for a long time.