Love Local a positive event

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Love Club Creations owners and creators Mikayla Ferguson and Sean Rowe, of Gore.

FROM sweet treats to handmade soap, organic clothing and pet fashion, the Love Local weekend market had a little bit of everything made by Southland creatives.

Between 4500 and 5000 people flocked to Invercargill’s ILT Stadium Southland last weekend in a bid to support small local businesses and get their hands on something special.

ILT Stadium Southland general manager Nigel Skelt said about 100 business owners set up shop in the stadium for the two-day event to showcase a “wide variety” of goods and services.

“The turnout exceeded our expectations to be honest.

“It was a really good, positive vibe and a chance to get the community back together again.”

The success of the event proved Southland was starting to “bounce back” from Covid-19, Mr Skelt said.

“We had squash on at the same time, every piece of the stadium was jam-packed, it was pretty exciting.”

For Love Club Creations owners Mikayla Ferguson and Sean Rowe, of Gore, it was the first time they had sold their organic clothing, handmade signs and other goods at a market.

“We started it as a hobby at Christmas, making gifts for presents for friends and family. From there, we just decided to make it bigger.”

Ms Ferguson said the pair had been “overwhelmed” by the level of support from other small businesses and visitors to the event.

KitznThingz owner Angela Carpenter, who previously ran a store in Invercargill and now had a home-based shop, said it was important for her to come out and support other businesses.

“I wanted to support the event and the business in Southland, I’m quite passionate about that.”

She said the Love Local Weekend was a “really nice” opportunity to pick small businesses up following the impact of Covid-19.

“It’s been good to be able to show people we’re still here.”

Flora + Forage and DnA Jewlz owner Alysia Owen, of Southland, who often had a stall at the Southern Farmers Market, said: “I’ve had a really positive response so far and I think people really like being able to get out again.”

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