Last Orders for the Wharf Store

Country Trading Store

In the words of Tom Petty, “It’s time to move on.  Time to get goin”.   This week we closed our retail outlet after 6 years at the Mapua Wharf.    Not an easy decision but the continued growth in our mail order business and the rising cost of retail rentals led us to it.

We’ve noticed a large shift to online shopping over the last two years and we’ve decided to go with it.    A year ago we separated out the mail order business into new premises in Ruby Bay and it’s allowed us to grow and focus on developing new products and new customers.

The store has been a wonderful part of Country Trading – a place where everything from seeds to spare roosters were swapped –  and at the risk of getting sentimental I’d like to share a few of the highlights of life at the store over the years:

  • The time I had to wrap one of our willow witches brooms for a man who was giving it to his mother in law as a “new car for Christmas” – wonder if he’s still the son in law.
  • The winters day Geraldine dressed up in a warm woolen dress which just happened to be a full air hostess uniform and played it straight with customers the whole day
  • The day Jess and I were clearing the table after seed swap and Jess thought the Red Beard seeds someone had left sounded interesting to grow – only to google it and find it’s a special strain of cannabis
  • All the customers who bought their cheeses in to show and share with us – some of them looked like they could run the 100m dash unaided – one man on holiday from Whangarei bought his homemade cheese with him – another man cleared the store with the smell of his 8 week old camembert
  • The marble machine – every store should have one of these old fashioned wooden toys – no batteries and I never met a child who didn’t love it.  It came from the Nelson Recycle Center, got played with every day for 6 years and is still going strong – no one choked, no one slipped on a stray marble.
  • The weekend we ran the great pickled onion taste test and got customers to eat 8 varieties of pickled onions and score each one – the blokes were lining up – the wives were not so impressed
  • When we used to take orders for live chickens and would have an annual chicken collection day in the store- with a mountain of cardboard boxes that would suddenly go breurk, brreurk, brrreuuurk and scare the living daylights out of unsuspecting customers
  • The way people would walk in and say “it smells nice in here”, if we could have bottled that eau de store it would have sold well, a heady blend of hessian, beeswax and baskets
  • The kids who wanted to grow things always made me happy
  • The elderly customers passing on fantastic advice to us and other customers – some days the store felt like one big spontaneous rolling workshop event

It’s not all roses running a retail outlet 7 days a week and I’d like to thank the team and product suppliers who put in the hard yards to make the store what it was.  We’ve put together a little album of some of the photos of the store over the years to celebrate what we built.  Click here to view it.

Thank you also to the Mapua community for taking us to heart and supporting us as we grew.   We hope you’ll visit us online and keep tabs on our progress as we take on cyberspace.  I’m really looking forward to the next chapter.

Heather & Team

PS:   All our lovely store baskets, stands, tables and shelves are going back to where they came from; the thoroughly fantastic Nelson Reuse & Recycle Centre in Tahunanui.





  1. Good luck with everything – at least you’ll still be just down the road in Ruby Bay and we can get your goodies online. “Have a safe onward journey” as Geraldine the air hostess would say.

    1. Thanks Jane and thanks for all your help making us look good 🙂 Chocolate Dog rocks.

  2. Gill Hurley-Gordon

    Best wishes for your next phase Heather and team Mapua

    1. Thanks Gillian, your lovely range of seeds made a special feature in the store.

      1. Gill Hurley-Gordon

        Hopefully you will you still be selling them online to your customers. I hope.

  3. SO Sad!! Won’t be worth visiting Mapua when we come South now. It was truly the highlight of our stays. You have wonderful products and HUGE knowledge the shop is So inspiring. We will miss it terribly.

    1. Thanks so much Jane, that’s so nice of you to say. It’s a different community on the internet but we’re hoping to keep sharing what we’re up to through our weekly blog and we’re always at the end of the phone if your chooks aren’t laying or your plum tree is infested with unknown greeblies. And do visit Mapua next time you come South – even if it’s just for a real fruit ice-cream and some smoked fish.

  4. It was lovely to see you briefly last weekend Heather. I have always enjoyed visiting your store and I am sure it will be missed. I know you will continue to create a beautiful space online for us all. All the best, Nicola x

    1. Lovely to see you too Nicola. Thanks for your good wishes and I’ll look forward to catching up with you when the dust settles. Heather

  5. We loved your store. It made us feel really good about coming back home after living overseas for many years because it captured everything we missed about Nelson – sunshine, growing things, friendliness, doing it yourself, funk, aesthetics, happiness, inventiveness, sharing good ideas, valuing local artisans. We took all our visitors to your shop and they loved it too. Our grandson Otto especially loved that marble run. We bought lots of things at your store that we couldn’t find anywhere else and it inspired us to grow a wide range fruit and vegetables, to raise chickens, to cook and preserve, and to really relish our life in the country. We will miss it terribly because it was a joyful experience to cruise in and find so many wonderful things all in one place and so delightfully displayed. But we wish you all the best in the online venture. May it do so well that one day, you will want to open a store again!

    1. Thank you Fiona, I’m humbled that our little store and all who sailed in her gave you and your family those things. It makes me very proud of what we achieved and you’re right, we were happy in the store and after years overseas myself that was something I strove for. You don’t come to Nelson to be otherwise I say. I know we take those sentiments to our online business – even if we can’t hear the marbles running. Thank you.

  6. Phil & Anne-Marie Goad

    Awwwh …. Mapua won’t be the same. Thanks for all your advice over the years. Thoroughly enjoyed putting the world to rights – and the cool products that just made us feel good. All the best Heather. 🙂

    1. Thanks Guys, I enjoyed your visits too – not quite the same virtually but I’d love to see photos of your cheeses and other concoctions as they emerge 🙂 Heather

  7. Congratulations Heather! Mapua Country Trading retail store with you and your friendly staff will be sorely missed; but its great your hard work has borne fruit, and that you’ve achieved your original goal of an online business. I’ve been a ‘slow learner’ with online shopping – this will force me to do better. All the best for the next stage.

    1. Thank you Dulcie, we will miss the store but we’re feeling pretty positive about the online future. I hope you’ll drop in online and share recipes now and then. Made a big batch of your plum sauce this year, way too much chilli so it will last a while. Cheerio Heather

  8. Thanks for all the help and advise over the years, it has been very much appreciated, your friendly manner and such an interesting shop just always made it worth a visit when out Mapua. Well done and all the best for the future. Brian Muddiman

    1. Thank you Brian, I think we learnt as much from our customers as they did from us over the counter and I hope we can keep that going online. Heather

  9. I only had the pleasure of visiting your store once. I have never forgotten the charm of the place and could have spent “hours browsing”. Good luck with the next move.

    1. Thank you Ainslie, we hope to carry that feeling over to our online efforts. The internet needs a good dose of Country Trading we think. Heather

  10. Hi Heather, I am going to miss popping into your beautiful store when we come down from Wellington. It was always my highlight when we come down and camp at Motueka. We will still come to the wharf as our boys like to fish with your fishing lines I brought them. You and the team were always so friendly and helpful and the store such a gem that you can’t find anywhere else. Will still be a happy online customer though. All the best for your new adventure. Many thanks. Fiona

    1. Thank you Fiona, that’s very kind. Glad to hear the fishing lines will still get put to good use. See you online. Heather

  11. Sorry to see you have had to make this decision but you are right – it is the way of the retail world nowadays – and with people so spread out in NZ online shopping is a good thing, I get pretty much everything that way – although what food we don’t/can’t grow we go to a physical shop and buy. A different but interesting community should be able to flourish online – and you can always hold ‘special days’ from your physical location. I look forward to many years ahead shopping with you and sharing tips and advice. All the best.

    1. Thanks Ami, I think you’re right and we have to move with the tide.

  12. Your Mapua store was a highlight when traveling in the Nelson area, but I use your website a lot more frequently. You keep the flavour of the store on the website and the blog fulfills some of the community aspect of the store. As long as the Naked Bun remains, Mapua will still be worth visiting.

    1. Thank-you Clare, That is so lovely of you to say. Pity we can’t do virtual lemon tarts like the Naked Bun – then we’d be all set 🙂

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