Af­ford­able premises for new shops

The Northland Age - - Local News - By Peter de Graaf

The new own­ers of one of North­land’s big­gest — and long­est-sur­viv­ing — sec­ond­hand stores plan to turn part of the build­ing into af­ford­able premises for up-and-com­ing busi­nesses.

Great North­ern Traders, on the corner of Cob­ham Rd and Mill Lane in Kerik­eri, was sold on Novem­ber 16 to a con­sor­tium of Bay of Is­lands power cou­ple Richard and Vanessa Owen and re­cent ar­rivals in Kerik­eri Terry and Fiona Clarke from Perth and Nigel and Felic­ity Wood­ing (Auck­land).

The build­ing is still owned by Gary Collins who started the store 43 years ago and has leased it out for the past 42. Owen said they had taken out an 18-year lease.

“It’s long but we need it. We have big plans and we’re in­vest­ing mas­sively.”

Plans in­cluded re­duc­ing the space oc­cu­pied by the sec­ond­hand store to half the build­ing. The other half, called Mer­chants of Kerik­eri, was be­ing di­vided into nine sep­a­rate shops to be rented out to new busi­nesses.

The rents would be af­ford­able and the terms flex­i­ble, with one-month rolling leases giv­ing young en­trepreneurs a chance to get new ven­tures off the ground.

Owen said when she first moved to Kerik­eri 24 years ago the main street was full of in­ter­est­ing, even quirky, shops.

“I’ve seen that change over the years. I think young peo­ple or new busi­nesses com­ing into town don’t have a show, be­cause leases are re­stric­tive and rents are re­ally high,” she said.

“This will give peo­ple a chance to ex­plore their busi­ness in a re­ally dy­namic en­vi­ron­ment and buck the trend that ev­ery­thing’s on­line these days. Peo­ple still want to touch and feel items, and in­ter­act with the own­ers.”

The first shop opened last Fri­day, the ninth is due to open on De­cem­ber 15. All would be lock­able so mer­chants could set their own hours.

They would in­clude two art gal­leries by Kerik­eri artists and iden­ti­ties Monika Welch and Keri Mol­loy, bar­ber, “mi­cro­dairy” and stores sell­ing French an­tiques, re­stored and chalk­painted fur­ni­ture, or­ganic pet food, car­pet and sec­ond-hand baby bug­gies.

“We’ve been snowed un­der. There’s al­ready a wait­ing list,” Owen said. Mer­chants would be able to get ad­vice on brand­ing, mar­ket­ing and web de­sign if they wanted it.

Though a fash­ion chain and a top-end linen shop were also mov­ing in, they had been asked to stock endof-line items to keep with the ethos of af­ford­abil­ity.

“We’re try­ing to keep hon­est. It is a sec­ond-hand store af­ter all,” she said.

While the new Great North­ern Traders would be smaller it would still sell “re­ally good junk”, de­mo­li­tion ma­te­ri­als and re­cy­cled goods, along with new fea­tures such as a hangi corner with sacks and other es­sen­tials.

“The main thing peo­ple have been say­ing is, ‘Please don’t change it, we love com­ing here to hunt through the junk’.”

Owen said the new ven­ture fit­ted her phi­los­o­phy that it was pos­si­ble to make a good liv­ing and give back to the com­mu­nity.

As well as of­fer­ing low-cost premises for new busi­nesses, last week they held a three-day free sale, giv­ing away thou­sands of dol­lars worth of stock rather than see it end up in land­fill.

“Most of all I want peo­ple to make money and have fun.”

The Mer­chants of Kerik­eri will be open 8.30am-5.30pm week­days and 10am-4pm Satur­days and Sun­days.

PIC­TURES/PETER DE GRAAF

The new own­ers of Great North­ern Traders — in­clud­ing Fiona Clarke, left, and Vanessa Owen — have big plans for the long-run­ning sec­ond-hand store. In­set: The new busi­ness is called Mer­chants of Kerik­eri.

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