Loving Local in Lockdown

When Auckland jumped back into alert level 3, local businesses and communities were there for each other.

Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop, The Women’s Bookshop, Novel, Dear Reader and Paper Plus are amongst the many places we love to shop for books that entertain, distract, feed our minds and souls. This time round our local retailers are offering a range of ways to make sure contactless sales are even easier and focusing on processes to ensure customers are safe and comfortable to shop in person again at alert level 2.

Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop
Helen and Mary Wadsworth of Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop on Jervois Road appreciated the enormous support of customers during alert level 3 last time. “We had so many web orders come in and that really kept our business afloat!”

Their click and collect service and bike delivery team were back in action offering same day deliveries to local addresses.

“We’re also including a $5 COVID Level 3 voucher for every online order, redeemable in the shop when we open again,” says Helen.

After over 100 days without a new case of Covid-19 it’s been a bit of a shock for many to be returning to alert level 3. One book that Mary and Helen recommend is Just Breathe by Jen Sievers. “It’s a New Zealand book about how breathing and mindfulness can help when you’re feeling worried or sad,” says Helen.

Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop is opening with reduced hours during alert level 3, Monday-Friday 10am-4pm and Sat and Sunday 10am-3pm.

Andrew Mabel from Novel on Jervois Road in Herne Bay is committed to making sure readers don’t suffer under alert level 2 and 3. ”I’m doing it again,” confirms Andrew. “If any customers who are local and are in desperate need of some books, I can sort something out and deliver them without contact. All covers (except cloth) will be wiped with disinfectant and payment can be made online,” he added.

Like other businesses around the greater Ponsonby area Andrew doesn’t want customers going without the solace and comfort books offer. Andrew has recommended his current favourite novel Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell. It’s the story of a band starting up in London during the 60s. Described by Good Reads as THE long-awaited new novel from the bestselling, prize-winning author of Cloud Atlas and The Bone Clocks - it does sound like a book likely to take you to lands far away.

Paper Plus
If you need more than books, Ponsonby’s local Paper Plus store has all the arts, crafts and home office supplies you will need if alert level 3 continues longer than planned. Like most businesses, Mark Worthy and the team at Paper Plus are making transactions super-fast and super easy. “Customers can make purchases on our website for the same day click-and-collect,” explains Mark. “If we don’t have a book in stock, we can have it in store within 3-5 days and if you’re walking by and need something just give us a call and we can manage the transaction over the phone.”

At the moment there are two New Zealand books that have been in hot demand at the local Paper Plus store; the critically acclaimed novel, Au-e, by Becky Manawatu, and Rose Carlyle’s hot new thriller The Girl in the Mirror. Paper Plus still has a few copies of Au-e left in stock and had just secured another shipment of The Girl in the Mirror before lockdown.


Triumph and Disaster
We cannot neglect the guys this September, so it’s only fitting that we hear what’s been happening at our local specialist male grooming and skincare store, Triumph and Disaster.

Since moving to alert level 3 they have offered click and collect, contactless sales from their flagship store on Ponsonby Road. Part of the narrative behind the Triumph and Disaster brand is how important rituals and preparation can be for well-being and of course skin health. With many of us working from home more and more, rituals like skin care can be an easy way to keep motivated and stay focused. Ben Luke, sales manager for the brand says, “our gift sets are a great way to get started on a good basic skin routine that can soon become a morning ritual.”

Like many retailers, Triumph and Disaster have found ways to innovate despite the challenges. “August is historically one of our biggest months, so losing half of it to lockdown definitely hurts. Luckily, we still have click & collect available, so customers are taking full advantage of this and getting their grooming essentials as they need them. Jason, the store manager has been able to pack all orders on his own, which is a lot of work, but he’s handling it like a champion,” says Ben.

As Auckland gets ready for a move down alert levels shoppers needing something for their Dad will be reassured to know the Triumph and Disaster team are ready. “Once we’re in level 2 it will be full steam ahead, ready for the Father’s Day rush, which historically happens in the last week or so,” says Ben.

If you need another reason to shop local with them this Father’s Day, online purchases over $75 will be rewarded with a free styling product.

The Poi Room
Expertly curated pieces draw you into The Poi Room. It’s the kind of store that reaches out and connects with you, which is exactly the intention of owners, Clayton and Melanie Jane Smith. One of The Poi Room’s strengths is how it communicates with customers, staff and artists.

“We have daily brainstorming with our creative team to come up with different ways of doing business and get that message out to our clients while all the time keeping the coms up with our artists and suppliers so they know we have their back in these tough times as well,” explains Clayton. This sentiment is echoed by their artists. Painter and printmaker, Kirsty Nixon, whose work often features in The Poi Room, believes that while isolation may seem like normal conditions for an artist, she has really missed the in-person connection. “I love to catch up with the team at The Poi Room and often pop in if I’m in the area for a browse. I get energy and motivation from the staff and love to see what inspirational work other artists are producing,” says Kirsty.

Haus of Flox
For Haus of Flox, the transition to alert level 3 was less of a shock. “We all feel a bit more well versed in knowing what to expect and how to go about providing a safe environment for workers and our customers,” explains Hayley King.

For the Flox team, the customer experience is the most important focus - whether in studio or online. Their recent investment of time and resource in their website is one that has really paid off since Covid. “We have had an incredible response to the new site so far and online sales have certainly gone through the roof,” says Haley, who has been heartened by messages of support from locals and the wider Haus of Flox community.

“I see heaps more smiles and generally more caring. We’ve been inundated with messages of support and sales after recently having experienced quite a major art theft at the showroom, plus wave 2 of Covid. It’s just so lovely to see and hear the support and humanity out there,” says Hayley.

To keep fans and followers inspired while staying at home, the Flox team are working on releasing another virtual puzzle. Hayley King believes Flox helps create joyful environments, which is what people are looking for more and more. “I feel like the style of Flox artwork is really positive and inspiring in general. There’s a colourful and playful nature to it, while at the same time being representative of who we are here in New Zealand. For a lot of people, Covid has created a sense of perspective and so focus shifted to wellbeing.”

Take-out love
Ponsonby, Grey Lynn, Herne Bay and Westmere are home to some of the most innovative cafes, restaurants and foodie spots in the country. Almost all have switched to easy contactless ordering for take-aways, either pick-up or delivery. During level 3 if you felt like a coffee from your favourite cafe, a loaf of fresh bread from the bakery or your favourite pasta dish, chances were you could easily do this while at the same time supporting our dedicated local hospitality industry.

These businesses have been committed to delivering the same level of deliciousness, quality and service during lockdown and have worked hard to keep their businesses afloat, their staff employed and their customers happy.

All of those Ponsonby News has talked to have innovated, adapted and are proud to be doing their part in the fight against Covid-19.

Café Lei
Saione Greer of Cafe Lei in Grey Lynn told us things have been a challenge. “We’re trying to make the best of level 3 by doing takeaway coffee and some cabinet foods from our kitchen, but it’s challenging when most of our regular customers are working from home. We hope many of them will be back next week under level 2 as we’ll have all hands on deck along with our full menu.”

Cafe Lei, run by brother and sister duo Saione and Natasha, brings friendly Island hospitality and foods to Ponsonby and features a stunning Flox mural.

Bread and Butter Cafe
Bread and Butter Cafe has worked with the Grey Lynn Farmers Market to not only make sure customers get their Bread and Butter favourites but also enjoy the deliveries of incredible vege boxes and organic staples.

“At Bread & Butter Bakery we try to stay positive and connected with our local community,” says Isabel Pasch. During level 3 they have been offering take-away coffee with a smile, a daily mix of pastries, sandwiches, and of course their organic sourdough breads. “Because we are also part of the Grey Lynn Farmers Market community, we are offering spray-free veggie & fruit boxes, fresh free-range eggs, organic A2 milk and other fresh produce from growers and producers that normally sell at the Grey Lynn Farmers Market,” says Isabel. Orders can be made via Bread and Butter’s online store with pick-up on Sundays from the Grey Lynn Bread & Butter Café.


To ensure people have access to advice through level 3 lockdown Greg Moyle and the team at OnePlan have adapted the way they deliver their service. “We know the current uncertainties mean our advice and support is needed more than ever and it’s important to us that we make sure we are there to help,” explains director, Greg Moyle.

OnePlan gives people the tools to manage their money in a way that enables them to enjoy the same standard of living once they stop earning a traditional income. In the current environment financial fitness and resilience becomes even more relevant. “Knowing what your choices are and having the confidence to make those choices is really empowering,” says Greg. “Ryan Melton, financial advisor at OnePlan, has coordinated a set of resources people can use to get started and is available to meet with people via Zoom throughout level 3 and into level 2 if they prefer,” explains Greg.

“I’ve put together information that is easy to digest and covers some really helpful strategies. There’s a free book on achieving financial freedom in New Zealand, a range of free virtual business events, free Zoom consultations, subscription to my weekly newsletter, a training course on retirement and of course our podcast,” says Ryan.

People don’t have to leave the comfort of their bubbles to gain the benefits and know that they can connect with Ryan at any time for help. Simply visit this link for access to everything Ryan mentioned. https://solo.to/ryanjmelton

Local businesses are part of the fabric of the wider city fringe experience. They are intrinsic to the thriving and supportive community we love and it’s wonderful to see locals continue to support them in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

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