Whilst there is still a couple a months to go before TOTE – The Oamaru Textile Emporium begins year fourteen it has made me think about how the co-operative shop I and my two fellow directors have run has evolved over the last decade. It’s been a roller coaster ride from day one. I’m not entirely sure how we’ve lasted this long when so many small businesses in the Precinct have come and gone. Sometimes it’s been financially precarious and 2020 is another very challenging year. I’m not sure we’ll survive this year but the last month has boosted our bank account although Covid19 sure took a toll on our savings and our membership. I think it made a lot of people reassess their lives. Some were forced into major changes and others have elected to take a different journey.
TOTE also has changed and matured over the years. Whilst its main aims to stay as a supportive retail outlet for its maker members is still the reason for its existence it has evolved as the membership itself has altered. We still fundamentally make things with New Zealand wool and other fibres and showcase textile crafts which we sell for a reasonable price so that many people can enjoy wearing what we make. Most of us are very local to Oamaru and some of us have been together for more than a decade.
It is a lovely shop to run and work in. I’ve met some amazing folk from all around the world. Over this last month a lot more local people have come visiting and helped support us by shopping in the Precinct. So it will be interesting to see what the rest of the year brings.