News & Events

Choose Manawatū, a shop local initiative

Thursday May 7 2020

A coordinated effort is underway to stimulate the local economy post Covid-19 lockdown. A shop local movement is emerging in communities across the globe and Manawatū is no different, with a new initiative launching to encourage residents to support rebuilding their own community through spending local within their local business sector.

Photo shows man standing in the doorway of the landmark Palmerston North bookshop, set up for click and collect shopping.

The landmark Palmerston North bookshop has reopened under level 3.

The Choose Manawatū initiative is led by Manawatū Chamber of Commerce, Palmy Business Improvement District, Feilding & District Promotion and CEDA (Central Economic Development Agency) in partnership with Palmerston North City and Manawatū District Councils.

Choose Manawatū will be a digital platform showcasing the many makers, growers, creators and doers that are right here in our backyard. Listing these local businesses in one place will make it easy for our communities to find and support them during – and after – all things Covid-19.

During the April to June quarter of 2019, retail spend across the Manawatū was more than $336 million. We’re expecting to see a significant decrease for the same period this year, with 33 days in alert level 4 putting the local business economy into hibernation.

Mayors Grant Smith and Helen Worboys are keen to see every dollar spent locally, providing a significant multiplier effect into our community, and directly supporting the livelihoods of our business owners and employees.

“This is about the recovery of our region,” says Linda Stewart, CEO at CEDA. “A united community response and the support of our locals is critical for our return to a strong and growing economy. We're fortunate to have been in a solid economic position going into Covid-19, and we need our whole community to be a part of the recovery plan that will ensure we get back to that same sense of confidence and positivity. Now is the time to come together, to support our local businesses, to support each other.”

Amanda Linsley, Manawatū Chamber of Commerce CEO, agrees. “We want to get our locals thinking about the impact they can have when they choose to spend their money locally. Supporting a mum and dad business and keeping your dollars in the community can help retain businesses, grow our region and create a domino effect of local-to-local spend and support.

“We're seeing an outpouring of support for our business community, and the response to the alert level 3 businesses operating looks extremely positive – not least because we've all been counting down for a barista-made coffee, and relishing the thought of a night off cooking. We've got a great business community here, with everything from retail, hospitality, trades, experiences, professional services and more.”

Wendy Carr, Manager of Feilding & District Promotion says the campaign is timely.

“We're seeing and hearing from our business community the need to get their messaging out there. The impact of Covid-19 has really amplified the need for a digital presence for our businesses and Choose Manawatū will provide a simple avenue for them to do this, regardless of their size or budget.”

Palmerston North City and Manawatū District Councils are thrilled to support this initiative, seeing it as a positive campaign for our local business community and residents to come together and get behind.

“Choose Manawatū is about building awareness of what is available locally and engendering pride in our communities to embrace the best of their own city and region,” says Sacha Haskell, PNCC General Manager Marketing and Communications. “It will provide a showcase for our locals to connect and get the services and products they're wanting – all while being a part of something significant for our region. Our Council i-SITE staff located in The Square will also be an able to assist for one-to-one enquiries when alert levels allow.”

The first stage of this initiative is launching this week, head to to find out more or email