Olympic ‘fan zone’ in store

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SHOPPERS at Invercargill’s H&J Smith department store are being treated to a fortnight of Olympic action.
Fans have been soaking up the global sporting extravaganza in style in the menswear department, which has been transformed into a lounge style ‘‘fan zone’’, complete with couches and a flat screen television.
Store manager Jo Hutton said a lot of people had been coming in for their morning coffee followed by an Olympic fix.
‘‘We have had a lot of positive feedback. One woman even wrote a poem about how much she loved it.’’
During the 2012 London games, ILT Stadium Southland provided grandstand seating for patrons wanting to watch the games at the store.
The set up for Rio however has proven more popular with patrons enjoying the more ‘‘personal, comfortable and relaxed atmosphere’’, she said.
‘‘The men certainly enjoy watching it while the women are shopping.’’
Women’s rugby 7s and road cycling had proved the most popular events thus far, she said.
‘‘It can get a bit loud with the TV, the music and the cheers. They are very enthusiastic.’’
Another innovation which she said had been met with praise this year was the window display on the corner of Tay and Kelvin Sts featuring Southland’s Olympians.
Rowers Jade Uru and Genevieve Behrent and cyclists Pieter Bulling, Eddie Dawkins, and Natasha Hansen have been immortalised in the display as they chase gold in Rio. The five are depicted by mannequins in their uniforms accompanied by photographs.
‘‘We have always been a community-focused store and the window honours the pride the community has in our Olympians,’’ Ms Hutton said.
With Dawkins and Behrent already capturing silver, Ms Hutton was hopeful the store could soon create a congratulatory display for the athletes.
‘‘When we get to the final events I think we will see more people coming along.’’

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