End of road for green grocer

END OF AN ERA: The Green Grocer business owners Dianne and Chris Pratt have closed their business on Stanmore Rd as a result of ongoing pressure Richmond's commercial area is under.

Ongoing roadworks are continuing to put pressure on Richmond businesses, with one long­running store deciding it is time to leave.

After more than 20 years of supplying fresh produce to the eastern suburbs on Stanmore
Rd, The Green Grocer closed it doors for the final time on Friday.

The city council began a full reconstruction of North Avon Rd in January ­which has since left businesses struggling to bring customers into their stores.

The Green Grocer owner Dianne Pratt said she didn’t want to go, but because of the roadworks the business has suffered a “huge decline.”

“We are around 50 per cent down each week and we can’t sustain it. It is below break even for us,” she said.

While Mrs Pratt and her husband Chris will continue to sell produce at the Riccarton Market on Sundays, she described the store their “bread and butter,” and were sad to be leaving.

“We were always a very buoyant business and it is just like someone has turned the tap off,” she said.

Pegasus Post was told at least three businesses are considering leaving the area.

City council’s planning and delivery manager Lynette Ellis said it is aware the road works can impact the community which it takes seriously.

“We are working with the contractor in North Avon Rd to minimise disruption where possible through programming of works and ensuring that parking within the shopping centre remains visible and accessible,” she said.

Richmond Village Book and PostCentre business owner Alan Spooner said the city council set temporary traffic lights across the entrance way to his car park meaning no one could enter.

He said the road works have had a “drastic affect” on businesses with no customers coming into his shop, meaning no income.

Mr Spooner said prior to the February 22, 2011, earthquake Richmond had “good, sound” businesses.

“But being right on the edge of the red zone we immediately lost at least half of our population,” he said.

He is calling for residents to “walk through the door and spend money.”

“They have got to support us or they just won’t have local businesses,” Mr Spooner said.

Hibbards Butchery owner Steven Joseph said business is down by 15 per cent, but is just going to have to “battle through the tough times.”

“When I used to work in Australia they did road works, they at least gave us free advertising in the paper . . . that would help out quite a lot,” he said.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: What do you think needs to be done to alleviate the pressure Richmond businesses are under? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi

DIFFICULT: Roadworks at the corner of Stanmore Rd and North Avon Rd in Richmond is having a large impact on businesses, with one deciding to leave.