After growing up on the Waitaki Plains, Elise Blundell spent time living in Waimate, Wellington and Whangarei. But Oamaru drew the acupuncturist back and she has been contributing to the revival of the North Otago town’s CBD, moving her business Acupuncture Oamaru into one of Thames St’s empty spaces.
How lucky are we to live in Oamaru?
Moving back in 2017, I realised just how special Oamaru is. Sometimes you have to leave to appreciate what you had.
I’ve seen a lot of small-town New Zealand and Oamaru has got to be the best.
We have our gorgeous harbour and vibrant precinct area, the unique and world-renowned steampunk scene, an abundant choice of feel-good cafes, several top-quality restaurants – some so good they’re hidden down gravel roads (we’ve got to keep some spots secret!) – and the best community garden in the country with a forward-thinking food forest project.
Not to mention our proximity to world-class skifields, beautiful lakes and stunning high-country scenery.
Having studied in Wellington for four years, I do miss the music and arts culture of bigger cities, but it makes for a great excuse for a road trip to Christchurch or Dunedin.
And I always come back with an appreciation for our array of car parking options.
When it comes to shopping local, I must say I’m a big Warehouse fan, but in July I needed something for my cousin’s wedding.
This was the first time I checked out our main street shops properly.
I went to Second 2 None in Wharfe St, Farmers, Neat Feet, McDiarmids, Inside Out, Preen, Mementos Gifts and Souvenirs (they have amazing pounamu jewellery) and Mathers’ Jewellery.
I was darting in and out of shops with half of my new outfit on as the shopkeepers said “go there for that”.
Even other customers were joining in, suggesting what to match my shoes with – it was so much fun!
That’s when I really understood the buzz about shopping local.
With the likes of the Weston subdivision, it’s clear Oamaru is growing.
Just ask a real estate agent and you’ll find demand is still higher than supply for housing.
I’ve found a lot of my new patients are fresh to Oamaru, escaping the bustle of the cities. This shows excellent promise and opportunity for entrepreneurs like myself to build great businesses.
In the three months Acupuncture Oamaru has been open on Thames St, it’s my experience that this community loves to support our local businesses.
Oamaruvians want to see the main street come alive again.
It has been amazing to take on and transform one of our empty shops into a relaxing space and to treat almost double the number of patients than in my previous location. I’m thankful for the fantastic support Acupuncture Oamaru has had from locals – old and new.
If you have something that will add value to our community, particularly in the services industry, I absolutely encourage you to take the step into Thames St. Our town is growing and if you have something Oamaru wants, we will all get behind it.
And for shoppers, as a self-confessed former Warehouse and op-shop-only shopper, I say it’s well worth exploring our main street shops.