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.