Waitaki App

Businesses combined for crafters and community

Waitaki App

Ashley Smyth

03 April 2024, 8:42 PM

Businesses combined for crafters and communityWendy Simpson in her new Rose's Enhanced store, on Ōamaru's Thames Street. Photo: Ashley Smyth

It’s been a seamless transition for Wendy Simpson merging her two craft supply stores into one larger premises on Ōamaru’s Thames Street.

For locals who remember the Ōamaru Silk Centre, before it became interiors store Design Federation, things have almost come full circle, with Rose’s Enhanced and Stitch on Tyne opening there this week.

Wendy bought Enhanced in October 2022, two doors north of the new premises, and opened Stitch on Tyne in March last year, on Tyne Street.

“I'm a big crafter,” she said. “I'm a dabbler. I'm an expert in nothing, but Oamaru has a strong crafting community.”

Both shops stocked various haberdashery and craft items, and while Enhance had a focus on wool and knitting paraphernalia, Stitch on Tyne stocked fabrics, and sewing necessities. 

“We were finding that it wasn't busy enough for the fabrics down in the precinct. The tourists aren't up as much as they have been in the previous years . . . so, we thought, well, if we put them together, then we'd have kind of one big craft hub,” Wendy said.

For almost five years, Wendy has also run Rose’s General Store on Tyne Street - the go-to for an assortment of sweet treats, fancy teas, useful knick knacks, traditional remedies, and the occasional show ticket.

At no extra cost, you can also get the unofficial word on what’s going on around the town and where, when you’re lucky enough to catch Wendy in store (FYI - it’s Thursdays and Fridays).

Wendy moved to Ōamaru from Auckland in 2006. She found it hard to be part of a community in the city, and threw herself into the one here, when she and her husband first arrived.

“I worked in a cafe for a while, and then I got given the role of the event coordinator for the Victorian Heritage Celebrations, so that was my stepping into the community role and then I ended up working for Tourism Waitaki for nearly 12 years,” she said.

Kathleen Shaw, who is part of that community, has nothing but nice things to say about her friend.

“She's an amazing woman who just goes beyond and above the call of duty for everybody . . . she is just incredible,” she says.

“She is amazing, and when I was on a committee with her she was an amazing font of knowledge, she had an amazing memory, and she knew everything and she was always kind to everybody, which is really important.”

After two days of business at the new Rose’s Enhanced, Wendy has been busy with people calling in to wish her well.

“It was really nice to see that the locals are happy about us moving.”

The motivation behind all her businesses is to help people, she says. 

“If we don't stock [something], I'll try my best to direct them to another business. Because I think it's important that we all support our local businesses.”

She is adamant, however, she won’t be opening any more.

“This is my limit. I'm telling my husband if I have any other stupid ideas, he has to say no.” 

Moving the businesses was a “way bigger job” than she expected, and she was grateful for help from “wonderful people” over the Easter long weekend.

“We took the four days to move . . . and it's still a work in progress.” 

The shop will be open 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 2pm on a Saturday.

Once settled in, Wendy is looking forward to having new wool arriving in for winter. She also has new fabrics coming in weekly.