Napier's about-to-be-opened $24 million Pak'n Save supermarket is the largest retail premises in Hawke's Bay.
The huge complex, built on the inner-city rail land, will be officially opened by Mayor Barbara Arnott on Friday evening and it will open for business at 10am Saturday.
With a covered area of 7000sq m it eclipses the Hastings Mitre 10 Mega store as the largest single retail premises under one roof.
The Mitre 10 store, which opened earlier in the year, covers 7500sq m but includes an open-air garden centre and a drive-through area.
Run by owner-operator Hanno Hasselman the supermarket is believed to be the second in size only to one in Albany.
It has taken almost a year to build and more than $2.5m to stock the shelves.
Not all the 300 people needed to staff the supermarket have been appointed though Mr Hasselman, who began his career in the food trade running a dairy about 400m away in Kennedy Road, said he had enough staff to run the store.
In 1979 Mr Hasselman bought two dairies in Bay View and converted one into a Four Square supermarket.
In 1985 he took over the Tamatea Supermarket and in 1995 doubled its size and converted it into the region's first Pak'n Save.
Six years later the size of its storage area was doubled and shortly after that the country's first Pak'n Save service station opened.
The opening of the Napier supermarket will also see the demise of one of the region's oldest.
The nearby Write Price Food Barn at Balmoral, initially opened in 1964, will close when the new store opens. It was built on what had been the site of an inner-city timber mill, was opened by Frank Baudinet and Henry Wong as part of the Balmoral shopping centre. However, it did not become a Write Price Store until Janice and Bing Young joined Mr Wong in 1985 when the store was doubled in size. It was further extended in 1991 to include a bakery.
Wednesday, December 1, 2004 12:22