Two of Hastings’ oldest retail businesses are taking their diamond rings, watches, trousers, jackets and shirts to Land Rover Horse of the Year instead of hoping visitors may walk through the doors of their shops in the CBD.
Grieve Diamond Jeweller and Thomson’s Suits have shared a pop up retail trade site at the event for the last four years, and James Griffiths says it’s “been well worth it”.
The two retailers were part of an trial five years ago by the Hastings Business Association to set up a Hastings retail trade area. James says that it was a break even exercise in the first year but they now re-book their site immediately after the event ends.
“For us we realised pretty early on that we had to have a presence at the event, rather than expect visitors to come into our shop.
“You’ve got to be on their doorstep, not the opposite. You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity and not expect it to just fall on your lap.”
The Grieve Diamond Jeweller and Thomson’s Suits pop up store has evolved over the five years, as has their understanding what customers buy.
James says high profile brands such as Karen Walker and Stolen Girlfriends jewellery are popular with teenage competitors and visitors while they also design and sell ‘horse jewellery’ such as necklaces with stirrups and horse shoe pendants.
“We’ve also sold a few diamond rings over the years, and we also sell a few watches too.
Thomson’s Suits managing director Angus Thomson says that initially their stall was mostly clearance stock at reduced prices along with some higher end clothing, which proved to be more popular.
“Customers are definitely wanting the latest designs and brands like R M Williams and Ben Sherman and being seen to be up with what’s hot in fashion. If it’s sunny we sell a lot of hats as well,” Angus says.
Both men say their staff enjoy getting out of the CBD shop and working in a different environment and sharing the site works well – both in cross selling opportunities and but also socially.
“Another benefit is that if a wife drags her husband into the stall to get him to buy a new shirt or trousers, she might also leave with some new jewellery! James says.
Angus says that although there’s talk about the economic benefits of the event for Hastings and the region, he says that there are many more benefits of having a large scale international event.
“It shouldn’t just be about the money, the exposure the event nationally and internationally for Hastings and the entire region is priceless. It’s the perfect promotion to our target market.”