Sally Benning, Mainstreet Manager for Greerton Village, has had substantial experience at the heart of retail communities.
She's been in the role at Greerton Village for two years in October 2017.
“I had been a mainstreet manager before in Te Puke so I knew what was involved and it's work that I enjoy,” says Sally. “Prior to coming here I didn't really know a lot about Greerton but when I saw the job advertised it appealed to me.
“Now I've come to love Greerton Village.”
Sally had also worked in Papamoa for a number of years in various roles, but she finds more commonalities between Greerton and Te Puke.
“I think it is a community thing, the similarities between Te Puke and Greerton. People are community-minded. Much of what we do is community events and the public and businesses who make their living here are very supportive.”
She's worked hard to get to know and promote the retailers and businesses. The mainstreet role and events are funded by the Greerton Village retailers, including the popular yarn bombing of 60 trees in the streets lining the shops. The eight-week yarn bombing saw the heart of the village shine through with 45 Tauranga charities also supported and promoted.
Promotions included the July-August giveaway of 5000 ‘Greerton Dollars' with 52 businesses getting behind it.
“There have been some big achievements here that are not necessarily to do with me,” says Sally.
“Prior to me, the Greerton Village Community Association lobbied very hard for a number of years with council to bring about a new library and I came in at the tail end of it.”
“We also lobbied for the old rotunda which had to be removed to build the library. No one knew what was happening with it so I dug to find out. It was cut in half and lying in a paddock. We lobbied hard for it to be relocated into the Greerton Village School which the school are delighted about.”
Sally says the association works closely with the school as many of the public events promoting the retailers take place using the school grounds. Instead of bands on the back of a truck, the rotunda becomes the main stage and was used for the first time at the Cherry Blossom Festival in 2016.
“We'll be using it again this year,” says Sally as she prepares for Greerton Village's 2017 Cherry Blossom Festival at the end of September.
“People come to Greerton because of the village atmosphere,” says Sally. “It's free and relatively easy parking with great cafes.”
November is the Vintage and Retro Faire which will also feature vintage cars, followed by a December Christmas event.
The Southern gateway to Tauranga certainly has a great community heart.