Alison Robertson talks to some of the CBD Celebration award winners about basing themselves in central Hamilton
KILT – Retail
KILT Boutique in Barton Street is unusual in this day and age because the clothes they sell are designed and made in New Zealand. KILT’s head office is in Napier and the Hamilton boutique is one of 17 in the nationwide chain.
Hamilton manager Nicola Smith says people are becoming more considered when they’re buying clothes, looking for garments that are ethically made using sustainable fabrics. “Our customer base continues to grow as people learn what we stand for. It suits our brand to be in the CBD, around other stores that are selling high quality products, and we’re easy to find and easy to access.”
Smith says KILT sells an experience not just clothes, helping customers to select and co-ordinate their wardrobes, and it’s this formula that brings customers back. It’s working well she says, and there are no plans to do anything vastly different from what they’re doing now. “We’ll continue to strengthen our relationships with existing customers, work to attract new ones, and increase our social media presence.”
BCD Group, Engineers and Planners – Innovation
There’s some good work going on in Hamilton’s CBD and it’s only going to get better, says Mitch Mace, commercial manager and CFO for BCD Group, winner of the Innovation category at the awards and runner up in the Professional Services category.
BCD did the planning and engineering work for Parkhaven, where they have their offices, the impressive Genesis building, the new KMart, The Mezz Box and several other distinctive CBD buildings.
“We like to push boundaries,” Mace says. “We take a tailored and innovative approach to providing solutions for our clients.”
In a decade they’ve grown from one person to a staff of about 80, 55 in the Hamilton office, and the remainder in Tauranga and New Plymouth offices.
The company is constantly challenging itself to do things better or smarter, and as part of that, is trialling a four-day work week.
“We’re proud to be in Hamilton and like to do our bit for the community,” says Mace. “We support Waikato rugby and Northern Districts cricket and a number of other local organisations. People like dealing with us and where we can, we promote other local people and businesses. It’s about supporting each other.”
RedKitchen Metro – Best New Business
RedKitchen Metro stands out as a café with a difference. Metro opened its doors to cater for office staff lunches, artisan supplies and grab-and-go meal solutions for the Hamilton central area.
Owners Megan and Mathew Priscott opened RedKitchen in Te Awamutu a year ago, and a Hamilton business had been on their radar for some time. They liked Alexandra Street, so when the right premises came along they grabbed the opportunity.
Megan says they don’t settle for average and she is continuously looking for ways to improve their offerings. She’s out front and driving the business while Mathew does “everything behind the scenes”, from books to baking and sometimes venturing out to help with coffee, which is his passion. RedKitchen Metro has two full-time staff, and the businesses together employ more than 30 people.
“I really like having a business in Hamilton CBD,” Megan says. “There’s a network of people and businesses that are really proactive in helping the CBD to thrive and grow. Our landlord completely supports our business and the area. It’s a cool place to own a business, and our focus in the next six months is to ensure we are delivering the same high standards and meeting the needs of our Hamilton customers.”