Altered marks a successful start

Published date23 March 2023
Invercargill businesswoman Kelly Blomfield opened the store Altered in December last year after giving up alcohol during the Covid lockdown, and has since built up a base of regular customers, meeting new people every day

‘‘It’s been absolutely awesome, I’ve met some of the coolest people, and I get to hear really awesome stories from new people every day.

‘‘I’ve genuinely enjoyed seeing people responding when they come in. It’s been great.’’

Previously a glass-repair store, Ms Blomfield converted the intimate space with her own designs to keep it as original as possible while giving the building a cosy, retro vibe.

‘‘It’s such an awesome building, and it’s the last original one on the block — all the others have been redone.’’

The business had encountered several challenges that all new businesses faced, but nothing which wasn’t forecast; opening during the Christmas period gave the store a massive initial run before tapering off to a regular base, Ms Blomfield said.

She was now using that base to branch out into work functions, markets, and other events — including opening an in-store alcohol-free bar last month.

‘‘A lot of people that do come in, it’s simply for health reasons. A lot of people are just trying to drink less, and this gives them options... If people don’t want to consume alcohol any more but still want to be social and feel like a grown up, it’s a needed thing.’’

The first of its kind in the South Island, a store in Ponsonby beat her to the punch of being the country’s first by a few weeks but alcohol-free bottle stores have been rising in popularity overseas for several years.

Perhaps in a perverse reflection of the country’s alcohol-culture, Ms...

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