September 27, 2022

A drop in foot traffic, an increase in online shopping and supply problems have made it impossible for a Palmerston North natural remedies store to survive the Covid-19 hangover.
Health and Vitality on Church St will close its doors for the last time after 22 years in business as soon as the last of its stock runs out in a half-price closing down sale.
The shop has been run by Jacqui Bateman since June 2000.
She had arrived in New Zealand in 1984 with qualifications in food management science, initially settling and working in Hawke’s Bay.
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She and husband Ken moved to Palmerston North because they had loved their visits to the city, and she worked for a natural health retail business in Broadway Ave for six years.
When its owners retired, she decided the time was right to open her own business.
Bateman said she enjoyed talking to customers and providing advice to ensure they were buying products best suited to helping them with their individual issues.
“I don’t want to sell them just anything.”
And it was because she put so much value on personal service that she never made the switch to online shopping when Covid-19 lockdowns forced customers to stay home.
But she presumes her customers did go online, and many stayed there.
“Hopefully people have not gone off natural products entirely.”
The other thing she had noticed as Covid-19 restrictions eased was the foot traffic did not recover.
Whether people were still hesitant about going out, or content with habits formed during lockdowns, she was not seeing the same numbers of pedestrians passing by.
“Some people are just off shopping.”
The other problem was being able to supply people with what they wanted even if they did venture into the shop.
Deliveries of several ranges of products that were imported had been held up.
About 60% of the products she had stocked were made in New Zealand, but manufacture was thwarted if overseas-sourced ingredients were unavailable.
Bateman said there were always ups and downs in business, but this one was too much to bounce back from.
She had reached the point where it no longer made sense to invest in stocks that might just sit on the shelves.
The doors would stay open until most of the goods were gone.
“I don’t want to dump good products.”
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