Local small businesses feeling pressure

City centre construction, online shopping and expanding malls are putting additional pressure on Tauranga’s small businesses and failure to adapt could mean they are “left behind”, experts say.

Tauranga’s business leaders say smaller retail businesses were expected to adapt or risk being left behind as the city transitioned into more of a “commercial centre”.

More than $350 million in commercial construction was under way or planned for the city centre alone this year, and more than $250m to redevelop Bayfair Shopping Centre, Tauranga Crossing and Papamoa Plaza will create upwards of 3200 jobs on completion.

However, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said some small businesses in the CBD and places including Greerton were feeling the pressure of disruption from construction and road works.

Some businesses were also being affected by online shopping and the growth of Tauranga’s shopping malls.

“If you’re not constantly adapting, thinking of your customer and trying new things, you are in danger of being left behind.”

Gregec said there had been an “explosion” of home-based businesses in recent years, many of which were operating in “new, smarter ways” rather than having a physical presence in the city.

“Small businesses will always have it tough when competing with big business in high volume, low-margin products and services,” he said.

“But they come into their own when they focus on uniqueness and service.”

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