Change of pace in move to retail
Keeping wheels of economic development turning in family building
After hanging up her boots as Project Maniototo co-ordinator, district advocate Amie Pont has got a new pair to put on. Amie’s four year contract in the job, which included supporting and facilitating community and economic development, ended last month. Her aspirations of economic development in the area will continue though as she forges on with her own goal of opening up a gallery and giftshop, on September 1. The date is Father’s Day. It will be a day she can have a special celebration and reflect on her father Paul Sapsford’s life. Amie took over the building, which was used by her father as a dental surgery, after Mr Sapsford died in an accident 2009. He had opened the dental office in the town in 2000 and would make day-trips every Friday from Mosgiel. ‘‘It was a vital service into the community,’’ she said. Now if residents needed dental care they would have to travel out of town and attempts to find another dentist to take the building and business over were unsuccessful. The decision to then turn the unused building into a business had been a no-brainer. ‘‘I would hate to see an empty building in such a prime location. I wouldn’t want it empty for much longer.’’ However, it wasn’t until now that Amie has been able to dedicate herself to the project. With the co-ordinator job coming to an end and an opening arriving in the market for giftware and gallery store she has decided to ‘‘take a risk’’. ‘‘We need local risk takers to invest in the community,’’ she said. Owning a business wasn’t as micro as it use to be and with an increasing trend of internet shopping, physical retail space had become only part of a business these days. Diversity was also needed in businesses in smaller towns – where, for example, the Four Square is also a florist and the bookstore is also the drycleaning agent, she said. ‘‘There are ways to inject another level of retail into smaller towns,’’ Amie said. She will support and encourage local art works in the store to feature the ‘‘creative community within Maniototo’’ and will stock items which she feels reflects what it is like to live in the area. ‘‘There’s a bit of a hunting, shooting and fishing theme,’’ she said. She will continue to work on communications, marketing and design work in an office out at the store and her two daughters, Madi, 10, and Kassidy, 8, are looking forward to soon becoming the third generation of the family to work in the building.
Opening: Former Project Maniototo coordinator Amie Pont.
Helpers: Madi, 10, and Kassidy, 8, look forward to walking down after school and helping Mum,
Amie Pont, out at the new gallery and giftware store she is
opening in Ranfurly.