Buttermilk set to be the new cream
Four hundred plus jobs will be created with the new mega-agricultural centre Buttermilk in Putaruru close to construction.
Buttermilk part owner Sam Wulff is one of a Tauranga trio who saw ‘‘promise’’ in the old Putaruru Carter Holt Harvey site on Princess St where the new complex will go.
‘‘It is situated off State Highway 1 and is central. It’s an hour’s drive from Tauranga, Taupo and Hamilton. It is a strong positive community and has close to 10,000 cars pass through it daily. These are only a few reasons why we chose the site in Putaruru,’’ Mr Wulff said.
The exciting new complex will incorporate four different themes or parks.
The most unique of which, the Agri Park, will be the driver for the entire site.
Mr Wulff said the Agri Park would have an interactive history of farming museum, year-round Fieldays’ style display area, tertiary education and conference facilities, and tractor and large machinery displays.
Other parks include a Retail Park which will house a new supermarket, outlet shopping, mini box retailers, boutique, home decorating, family restaurants and entertainment, a proposed new medical centre and a farmers market.
The Auto Park will have an un-manned fuel station, self-service car wash and valet, vehicles and farm machinery servicing, new car and commercial dealership, automotive retail outlet and a campervan park-over.
The Trade Park will have stock feed suppliers, machinery and plant manufacturers, rural servicing, logistics and transport companies, and warehousing and distribution.
‘‘As the rural sector is the key driving component of the site, it is beneficial to us that we sit at the heart of over 16,000 rural properties, producing a diverse range of commodities. We feel that this is a strong factor in achieving our aim of Buttermilk not only being a New Zealand first but quite possibly a world first. We know that traffic flow increases during public holidays and large events, and we believe that this will assist us in our aim of achieving a strong domestic visitor rate.’’ Mr Wulff said.
The three Tauranga entrepreneurs Mr Wulff, Paul Washer and Dave Macfarlane chose the name Buttermilk because, ‘‘it’s what is left after the big boys have flogged the cream and we are going to make something sweet with it’’. A tongue in cheek jibe at major corporations that have come and gone from the district.
Building the facility is expected to start within the next 12 months.
Mr Wulff and his partners have transformed small communities in the past.
‘‘We purchased a similar site in Waiuku close to Auckland. The results of that have been great, more jobs in the area but more importantly the community spirit has lifted. We know the effects of this complex will change the South Waikato socially.’’
Mr Wulff said a strength was the ‘‘close proximity to Buttermilk’s private rail siding and its direct access to the Port of Tauranga, making it an obvious choice for warehousing, distribution, import and export. Buttermilk is also at the heart of Waikato’s road network – north, south, east and west, therefore strategically situated for all aspects of distribution.’’
South Waikato Mayor Neil Sinclair said the interest from outside investors has been ‘‘phenomenal’’.
‘‘Business people are seriously looking at setting up business in our district. We have prospective businesses looking at setting up base on Browning St in Tokoroa. We have Arapuni Milk and now we have this exciting new venture Buttermilk. Everything is looking up for our district. It is very exciting times.’’
TAURANGA TRIO: Tauranga business partners Paul Washer, Dave Macfarlane and Sam Wulff purchased the former Carter Holt Harvey site on Princess St to transform it into Buttermilk.
BUTTERMILK: This is what the Buttermilk Complex will look like once it is completed. Photo supplied.