Online shopping and lack of supplies cause retail stores to close

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Jacqui Bateman is closing Health and Vitality after 22 years of selling natural remedies and vitamins.

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

Jacqui Bateman is closing Health and Vitality after 22 years of selling natural remedies and vitamins.

A drop in foot traffic, an increase in online shopping and supply problems have made it impossible for a natural remedy store in Palmerston North to survive the hangover from Covid-19.

Health and Vitality on Church St will be closing for the last time after 22 years in business as soon as the last of its stock runs out in a half-price closing sale.

The store has been run by Jacqui Bateman since June 2000.

She had arrived in New Zealand in 1984 with qualifications in food management science, initially settling and working in Hawke’s Bay.

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She and her husband Ken moved to Palmerston North because they loved visiting the city, and she worked for a natural health retail company on Broadway Ave for six years.

When her owners retired, she decided the time was right to open her own business.

Bateman said she enjoys talking to customers and giving them advice to make sure they’re buying the best-suited products to help solve their individual issues.

“I don’t want to sell them anything.”

And that’s because she valued personal service so much that she never opted for online shopping when Covid-19 lockdowns forced customers to stay home.

But she assumes her customers went online and many stayed there.

“I hope people haven’t completely given up on natural products.”

The other thing she had noticed when the Covid-19 restrictions eased was that foot traffic did not recover.

The gaps in the shelves and the lack of customers push Jacqui Bateman to close shop.

DAVID UNWIN / Stuff

The gaps in the shelves and the lack of customers push Jacqui Bateman to close shop.

Whether people are still reluctant to go out or are content with the habits taken during confinement, she did not see the same number of pedestrians passing.

“Some people are right next to shopping.”

The other issue was being able to provide people with what they wanted even if they ventured into the store.

Deliveries of several ranges of imported products had been blocked.

About 60% of the products she stocked were made in New Zealand, but manufacturing was thwarted if foreign-sourced ingredients were unavailable.

Bateman said there are always ups and downs in business, but this one was too tough to bounce back.

She had reached the point where it no longer made sense to invest in stocks that might just sit on the shelves.

The doors would stay open until most of the goods were gone.

“I don’t want to throw away good products.”

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