We talk a lot about lifestyle and how lucky we are to live in Hawke’s Bay. Let’s face it … living in Havelock North, the Village, is very nice.

It’s easy to get around, all the required amenities are nearby, the natives in the daytime are mostly friendly and it’s a great place to do business. The commute of five minutes by car and ten minutes by bike to the office is pleasant.

It really is lovely in a non Wisteria Lane kinda way. But there are much bigger opportunities for Havelock North than just being the ‘nice’ place that it is and we need to step up a gear and grow our business profile.

Business growth and jobs is where it’s at and the Village offers a serious choice for people to come and hang out their shingle. There is a huge range of excellent and affordable residential real estate, plus a good range of commercial and light industrial space. The Village has a high quality telecommunications network including the crucial high speed broadband, with more fibre going in as we speak.

Key business advantages are varied and include lower operating costs (compared to the rest of the world), good support services, and competitive and available labour costs, not to mention good quality transport linkages, including air options.

Having great schools is often omitted when thinking about living and doing business in Havelock North, but ask why Rod Drury is actually back in the Bay? Hereworth. So schools are a great marketing tool when trying to attract business owners to pick up sticks wherever they are and come and get the ‘full meal’ business deal in Havelock North.

Speaking of Rod, a conversation was had before they set up their new office in Wellington about why not move Xero’s callcentre to Havelock North? Brilliant question, I thought, but an equally valid answer was given. The staff of Xero are ‘mostly’ young and need a vibrant nightlife as well as a vibrant daylife, so, it was argued, Havelock North would not fit the bill.

Population size and age demographic might be a bit of an issue, but that’s OK. There are plenty of thirty-five to forty-five year olds plus who have businesses and want the ‘lifestyle’ piece of their life equation … and we certainly have the deal for them!

The Village has always been famous for its boutique retail, but the revolution of online shopping may change that somewhat with retail stores becoming interspersed with service type businesses. The small and perfectly formed CBD makes doing business just a stroll away to the Post Office or banks or to see and deliver stuff to clients.

Parking is free for customers and they can mostly park outside your place of business.

Great thinking to use a targeted rate to cover off shoppers’ parking; going forward this will be a big advantage.

The new sixty bed hotel to be built on the site of the existing Happy Tav is more good news and will be a welcome addition for local business owners holding meetings and small conferences. And for anything bigger the Opera House is at the other end of the street.

Adrienne Pierce

That will take Havelock North to over 400 commercial beds, plus lodges and home stays.

The Havelock North Function Centre is in the Village and provides excellent fully catered meeting and conference facilities. Its proximity to the soon-to-be refurbished Village Green adds to the overall ‘look and feel’ for those planning gatherings of this nature.

Sam Jackman, the new Havelock North Business Association President, is pumping fresh energy into the Village. The reinvigorated committee is developing a clear marketing plan. Sunday trading, or lack thereof, is back on the menu.

Talks with the Hastings District Council’s economic department continue and relationships with the team there are strong.

So all in all it’s positive for Havelock North’s business profile and in the Hawke’s Bay landscape there is a very sound business case for new and existing businesses to set up in the Village.

The welcome mat is out.

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