Welcome to the third installment in our ongoing series ‘Getting to know your local businesses‘. This week we chat to Leigh Somerville , Business Manager at Helloworld Blenheim
Getting to know…….. Leigh Somerville at Helloworld Blenheim
Tell us about yourself and your business: what does your business offer, and how long have you been around?
Award winning local travel specialists Helloworld Blenheim is made up of Amber Sullivan (Team Leader), Travel Consultants Rachel Bown and Hannah Hutton-Smith and is led by business owners and managing directors Sue and Paul Robinson and Sales Manager Leigh Somerville. Our Helloworld Blenheim team has been sharing our travel knowledge, passion and expertise with our valued clients since September 2016 with the store becoming part of the fresh new Helloworld brand in February 2016. Our team collectively has over 50 years combined industry experience.
Helloworld (NZ) Ltd is proud of its long and solid history creating lasting travel memories for many years across New Zealand through the Harvey World Travel, selected United Travel stores and Air New Zealand Holidays brands prior to its rebrand with it’s registered office in Auckland. With over 65 franchised retail leisure travel stores operating nationwide, Helloworld (NZ) Ltd is part of Helloworld Travel Limited (ASX: HLO) a leading Australian based travel distribution company comprising of retail travel businesses, destination management services, wholesale, corporate and online operations.
What do you love the most about being in business in Blenheim?
Blenheim has a great community feel and we find most of our visitors are relaxed and happy. It’s also easy to get around whether on foot or by car which lowers the stress levels of our shoppers resulting in friendlier, more positive encounters and the weather is generally pretty good too which also makes people feel happier and that makes it easier to love what we do!
What is the biggest challenge in running your business?
We are still receiving feedback from people advising they have never heard of us, despite our nationwide & local advertising campaigns and our strong history in Blenheim prior to the rebranding, as Holiday Shoppe, Air NZ Holidays and Harvey World Travel so there is always that drive for us to continue to increase our profile locally.
Despite a corner location providing what should carry high visibility, traffic can be very busy at the intersections meaning many people can miss seeing where we are located and as parking is very limited in our direct vicinity, foot traffic at this end of Market Street and part of town, is low.
Is there anything you would like to see in the Blenheim CBD that we don’t have already? (for example in terms of amenities/events etc)
It would be great to see the Wine & Food Festival weekend market brought back as it is fabulous in creating a great community atmosphere, showcasing local businesses and drawing people into town.
A free parking day mid-week such as the first Wednesday of every month for example may also encourage people to stay longer, supporting local businesses with additional shopping.
Encourage more diversity in the types of shops available to increase people’s interest in ‘making a day of shopping’ in the CBD vs. going only to the bigger department stores and create atmosphere and energy reflecting our local region with perhaps a quaint, intimate, boutique shopping experience along all of Market Street and Queen Street to direct flow of foot traffic.
Why did you decide to join the Blenheim Business Association, and what is the most valuable thing we could do for you?
We want to be able to network with, share ideas with, learn from and support other local businesses and we also see the BBA as a way to have a voice in helping to shape ongoing economic growth for ourselves and the entire CBD business district.
What do you enjoy doing when you get some rare time away from the business?
We all LOVE to Travel whether it’s to Hawaii, the Gold Coast or spending time in our own beautiful backyard in the Marlborough Sounds or enjoying all sunny Blenheim has to offer by sampling good food and wine with family & friends.
A cheeky question to finish up…….if you could have any one superpower, which would you choose and why?
In our role…. to read people’s minds…. it would certainly make our job much easier!
For more information about Helloworld Blenheim visit www.helloworld.co.nz