Change of pace in move to re­tail

Keep­ing wheels of eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment turn­ing in fam­ily build­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES - By CHE BAKER

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.

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