8 November 2021

The Hub Hornby, a retail centre in southern Christchurch, has transformed considerably over recent years, almost doubling in size and completely modernising.

Today, The Hub Hornby is a destination for the local community with an expansive food court, communal gathering space and public facilities.

With its many culturally significant artworks and environmental touches, the centre’s aesthetics create a contemporary experience for customers and are a strong point of difference from other similar retail destinations.

Importantly, its Enviro-Mark Gold Level accreditation makes The Hub Hornby the new sustainable face of retailing in southern Christchurch.

We chatted with Jason Marsden from Colliers International, about the world of physical retail and how transforming the centre has helped its tenants and the surrounding community to thrive and – more recently – combat the challenges the pandemic has presented.

Jason Marsden has been involved in the management of The Hub Hornby since 2001, during which time he’s overseen many significant changes in terms of investment and growth.

“The Hub Hornby is located in one of New Zealand’s highest growth districts. It’s a very diverse catchment made up of industrial and residential businesses, which means there’s always a steady flow of customers walking through its doors,” Jason said.

“When we call The Hub Hornby a community shopping centre, we really mean it. There’s a real focus on engaging with the local community and schools, and improving the shopping experience for customers.”

Over recent years, The Hub Hornby has undertaken a significant transformation and modernisation.

“We’ve seen a lot more families move into the area recently and as a result we’ve adapted accordingly. We’ve tried to close the gap between perception and reality, creating an environment that is clean and safe for all,” said Jason.

“We utilise different types of marketing and community initiatives, like our trick or treat Halloween event, which has become incredibly popular with families. We also hold a pet shopping night – which is always a hit.

“The modernisation project also allowed us to rethink the centre’s environmental footprint and design every element to be greener. This has involved the minimisation of waste and resources, recycling and, more recently, the introduction of electric vehicle (EV) charging facilities.

“We are currently the only shopping centre in New Zealand that is Enviro-Mark Gold Level accredited. This is an independent program where we are audited, so we must continually show improvements within our environment which ensures we’re continually looking for innovative ideas.”

When asked what sets The Hub Hornby apart from its competitors, Jason says this willingness to embrace innovation in order to improve the customer experience plays a big part.

“The centre and its over 80 retailers are always seeking new ways to help customers shop and enjoy the space – that’s something that’s become particularly important with the rise of online shopping,” said Jason.

“COVID has impacted the day-to-day operations of The Hub Hornby. Last year we were unable to trade for 49 days due to lockdown, which has never been experienced before. As result online shopping has soared, however we know that when things return to normal people will still want a really positive physical shopping experience.

“COVID flipped the script on retail, so we did the same in our response. As we were unable to have customers in store, we had to think about how we could ensure our tenants maintained some level of trade and business. That meant being on standby to assist our tenants with what I refer to as ‘Plan B’ and get them prepared to give them another sales avenue.

“We’d help our tenants improve their websites, create an online sales portal, support the transition to click and collect – essentially anything they needed to survive. The response was huge, and it was so great to see our retailers find new avenues for revenue.”

When supporting his customers, Jason took confidence in knowing that Nexia New Zealand was supporting him, regularly going above and beyond with its resources and professionalism.

“Nexia works closely with Colliers’ accounts department. Given we have so many clients within The Hub Hornby, there’s a significant amount of work involved in managing those individual accounts – but Nexia’s up for the task,” Jason said.

“Nexia provides that depth of resource, level of professionalism and effective systems that ensure we can continue to transform and grow – it’s an example of a partnership that works extremely well.

“I certainly appreciate the relationship with Nexia – they’re a great bunch of hardworking people who make my job easier and their attention to detail from start to finish is unmatched.”

Jason says that he excited to take The Hub Hornby to the next level and is glad he can rely on the Nexia team to help him to do this.

Jason Marsden

Jason Marsden
Senior Centre Manager
Colliers International

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