The original owner of an independent Queenstown store’s this month brought up a very rare milestone — 30 years in retail.

Shirley Popenhagen opened children’s boutique Rockies, then known as Hopscotch, in the former Wakatipu Arcade, in the CBD, in 1992.

She had a business partner for her first 18 months, then Ngaire Hayes as her partner for the following 19 years, however since 2013 she’s been out on her own.

In 2007, she shifted premises to nearby Lower Beach Street, then added a second store, at Remarkables Park, in 2018.

Popenhagen shut her CBD store in 2020, just before the first Covid lockdown, in the face of a threatened 47% rent rise and the shortage of downtown parking, while retaining her other premises.

‘‘The locals just love the ease of parking [at Remarkables Park] — they weren’t coming into town, and it’s not till you do something do they say, ‘oh, I’m so pleased you’re out here’.’’

Like most businesses, this past year’s been particularly difficult due to staff shortages — ‘‘you just do more hours to keep the doors open’’.

She says she’s very appreciative of locals’ support, noting kids local mums were buying for are now shopping there for their own kids, while some customers ‘‘have a loyalty discount waiting to be used from 20 years ago’’.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -