The boredom busting business

Gateway Games owner Greg Kindell laughs that the game Pandemic has been a top seller recently. Photo: John Borren.

Many businesses are doing it tough with COVID-19 limiting trade, but others are seeing a boon. 

It seems people are keeping it old school by buying books and games to keep themselves entertained while the pandemic prevents overseas travel and big events.

Gateway Games owner Greg Kindell is aware his sales boom is the opposite of many businesses.

“It’s definitely helping some businesses. It's embarrassing that it’s been so good.”

Sales over the last three months have been better than Christmas 2019, which saw the best sales the store has had so far, says Greg.

A particularly good seller has ironically been the board game Pandemic.

“Sales have gone nuts,” laughs Greg.

The game requires players to work as a team to find cures for four diseases that have broken out across the globe.

“But across the board, all board games, card games have just gone crazy.”

In Greg’s 20 years of business in Tauranga he says this year is shaping up to be his best yet.

His biggest challenge is getting stock, with most companies now using sea freight because air freight costs have escalated and planes are less frequent.

Books A Plenty co-owner Chris Baskett says her stock levels are increasing now but she was low on stock after lockdown for the same reason as Greg.

The bookstore is experiencing increased sales and Chris thinks is because people have been buying local instead of online shopping from overseas sites.

“We've benefited. Compared to some people, we're lucky.

“The value of books is still quite strong.”

She says people have been buying a lot of New Zealand books to not only support local but also because the wait time to order them is a lot less.

Both Chris and Greg say sales in the days before Level 4 lockdown were crazy with people finding ways to occupy themselves before everything shut.

Jigsaws were the hot seller for Cindy at Mt Bookworm before lockdown and she is still trying to replenish her stock.

Cindy has added records to her stock to help boost business with sales at the book exchange steady.

She has noticed a difference in trade since Auckland went to Level 3 with many people popping in while they’re here for the weekend or on business.

“I'm missing those people from out of town and a lot of events that would coincide with the weekend.

“I am doing fine, but I have needed those records to help me through.”

Cindy is concerned what the rest of the year will be like with the cruise ship season most likely cancelled.

“I would get a lot of crew in, probably way more crew than guests, but I won’t be getting either of them this year.”

Fiction has been a top seller in both bookstores and Cindy says she could run her shop on an endless supply of Lee Child books. 

All three store owners are grateful the pages have turned in their favour.

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