Ecko Home – Wairoa’s main street gift and homeware store, has been named a finalist in the Resilient Business category of the upcoming Hawke’s Bay Business Awards.
The popular business was impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, with floodwaters seeping under the door and into the shop and the carpet acting like a sponge, sucking the water through the building and affecting everything at ground level, from fixtures to stock.
Owner and fifth-generation retailer Lauren Johansen was not deterred and made the most of the situation by giving the shop a facelift, repainting and brightening up the interior, offering a feel-good experience that has a more natural and relaxed look and feel with a concrete floor and easy-to-navigate shelving and display areas.
The relaunch has enabled Ecko to restock and expand with new ranges and brands focusing on eco-friendly New Zealand-made products.
Lauren was overwhelmed to make it through as a finalist in the regional awards. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by Cyclone Gabrielle, particularly those in stickered houses and businesses. It has been a tough time for our town, but it is great to see people working together and rebuilding. The flooding in the Ecko store is nothing compared to what some people have gone through, but it has provided an opportunity for a revamp. We are humbled to have made it through as a finalist and proud to be representing Wairoa.”
Wairoa Mayor Craig Little is proud Ecko Home has made it as a finalist. “We are a resilient town comprising of resilient people. While it would be a luxury not to have to be so resilient, it is that determination to bounce back that is a pillar to Wairoa. Lauren always puts Wairoa first, and as one of our many selfless business leaders, well and truly deserves to have made it this far, and we wish her all the best.”
Lauren, who also owns Hammer Hardware, created Ecko five years ago to offer local people good quality home décor, kitchenware and gifts ranging from basic to boutique.
“We have tried to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable just to call in, browse and look around.” Lauren supports shopping locally and has made an effort to provide a local option so people don’t have to go out of town and can have their homeware and gift needs met without leaving Wairoa. She says shopping locally is important, it supports our whole community and supports our home.
The Datacom Hawke’s Bay Business Awards are delivered annually by the Hawkes Bay Chamber of Commerce. The awards recognise and celebrate business excellence in Hawke’s Bay and play an important role in promoting and strengthening economic development within the region. The awards evening is on Friday, November 17.
6 November 2023
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