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Set on Kaiapoi’s main shopping street, fashion boutique Craze draws visitors from the district and surrounding areas. In 2013 when store owner Sherie McKinlay set up the business she was surprised that nobody else had spotted the opportunity.
“Nobody else was doing anything like this. Shops had shut down post-quake and things hadn’t really re-opened and I thought there was a market for a good fashion store,” she says. With a love of fashion and experience in fashion retailing Sherie decided to take the plunge.
It’s a decision she’s glad she made. The set up process went relatively smoothly, she says, and she had plenty of advice from Enterprise North Canterbury’s Business Support Manager. Support was strong from customers, both local and from further afield, in store and online, and business picked up quickly.
Six years on and business has proven so good Sherie has upsized, with a move to the new Riverview Retail Complex a few hundred metres along Williams Street from her first location.
“When I first set up here on Williams Street the main road wasn’t even fully redone following the earthquakes. Blackwells Department Store hadn’t reopened and Coffee Culture wasn’t even there,” she recalls.
“A lot of people thought I was crazy to set up when I did, but I could just see the potential in the site. Now I’ve just outgrown it.”
Potential is a big driver for her move to Riverview, too. The complex, located on the corner of Charles and Williams Street, opened in September 2019 and is home to a raft of new retail and hospitality businesses that will create a destination hub for daytime shoppers in Kaiapoi.
Originally from Christchurch, Sherie is utterly convinced of the appeal of Kaiapoi and says that being based in the town has brought plenty of benefits.
“Premises are reasonably priced here so I’m not spending a fortune on rent. And whilst I have plenty of local customers I also get a lot of people from Christchurch too, it’s only 10 minutes up the motorway”.
The proximity to Christchurch contributes to Sherie’s steady working week trade. She says customers will pop up from Marshlands in their lunch hour to pick up a particular item they’ve spotted online.
Sherie is convinced Kaiapoi offers plenty of opportunities to others looking to set up a similar store.
“Kaiapoi is just getting bigger and better,” says Sherie. “We’re becoming a destination.”
Craze Fashion is located in the Riverview Retail Complex on the corner of Williams and Charles Streets, Kaiapoi. Visit www.crazefashion.co.nz for more information.