Ros Cole-Baker and daughter Ellie Gwilliam bail out water at Just Thrive dance studio. Photo / Michael Cunningham
It was a tough start to the week for Whangārei businesses but with fine weather forecast for this weekend, sales are expected to pick up.
Mint Floral co-founder and creative director Jasmine
Fuller was evacuated from her business before high tide on Monday at midday, in the midst of preparing Valentine’s Day orders.
“It has hugely impacted us.
“This week is our second busiest week of the year and we will be running at a loss with this campaign at this stage, due to not having sales yesterday and today,” Fuller said.
Fuller said her team start planning for Valentine’s Day before Christmas and ordered flowers two months ago.
“I actually started to cry… because of the fact that we’re just probably going to run at a loss, it’s been a hard few years for small business.
“I’m just hoping that people will get on board and support all of the local businesses that are affected by it, like all the restaurants and everything as well.”
Northland Chamber of Commerce president Tim Robinson said the Whangārei CBD has been quiet early this week because locals have heeded the warnings to stay home and hunker down.
“It pretty much washed out, if you pardon the pun, business as a whole.”
But he said since the weather cleared up, people made an effort to comes into town and he even had a foreign visitor in his Bernina shop.
“I think in the last three days, people had to buy stuff but a lot of them are holding their breath and waiting to see what happens,” he said.
Robinson’s insurance broker told him some of their clients had been severely impacted by water damage and were in for a long clean-up.
“Basically, you sort of say that it’s been two days of business shut down altogether.
“From a Valentine’s Day perspective, yeah, it was almost like it may as well have said it was cancelled because there was just no means for the businesses to be able to trade through it,” Robinson said.
Tide venue manager Sheridan Marris said the restaurant’s location on the water probably deterred customers during the storm as well as the surface flooding on Port Road.
“Sunday scared a lot of people I think. Especially with, like all the Civil Defense alerts and things like that. It does put people in a panic.
“We were prepared to have a very busy Valentine’s Day but we probably got about half of what we expected.”
Marris said although the forecast is looking a lot brighter following the cyclone, she thinks it will take a while for business to pick up again.
“It’s been really quiet. I think a lot of people are cleaning up their properties, to be honest.
“I expected a lot more damage here. We only got a bit of water leakage, like through the cracks of our ranch sliders,” Marris said.
Treat Cakes & Pastries owner Krystal Wang said the business had lots of orders cancelled due to the cyclone after they had already prepared them.
“I pretty much get no money, some people are asking for refunds and you’ve just got to refund the money to them,” Wang said.
The store had to try to sell the already prepared food to other people, and although the store was quieter than usual, they managed to sell out.
“We are open… some people still have to come and pick up their orders so we have to keep the shop open.
“We’ve been advertising since a month ago because it’s kind of our biggest day (of the year),” Wang said.
Just Thrive owner Carla Bedford spent Monday trying to remove Sunday night’s stormwater in her dance studio as the cyclone raged on.
”We weren’t here to bail out during the night and we blocked it the best we could, using all sorts of things… old carpet and everything.
”So, we came in this morning and cleaned up as best we could. There was water through the studios and it’s still oozing out from under our dance floors.”
To make matters worse, Bedford had recently invested in brand new dance floors for the studio’s first day back – which was supposed to be Tuesday.
She was hoping the damage could be fixed.
”It’s just a disruption to the business you know, just one more thing.”
Despite the grim circumstances, Bedford said she is extremely thankful for her dance community who have been stopping in and helping her out throughout the day.
”They’re an amazing, supportive, really beautiful community here.”