Aotea Countdown opens with 57 new jobs for Porirua community
Mark Berney was like a kid before Christmas yesterday.
The store manager of Countdown's newest store, on Whitford Brown Ave in Aotea, Porirua, was a busy man as the finishing touches were being made on the $20 million supermarket.
Reps from various companies were filling their designated spots, Countdown employees were stocking shelves - even window washers were out in force, getting the glass spotless for the big opening.
Porirua mayor Mike Tana officially cut the ribbon on Wednesday morning and the store is now open to the public.
Tana said the new supermarket would be a welcome addition to Aotea and surrounding area.
"It means more jobs and more shopping choices, which is great to see."
There are 57 new staff members to the Countdown family, Berney said.
"We had a stall at JobFest [last August in Porirua] and a lot of local interest, which is brilliant. We haven't had to cannibalise from other stores."
The anticipation of opening was palpable for Berney, who was previously assistant store manager at Tawa Countdown, and worked in supermarkets in Lower Hutt.
"It's really exciting and an honour to get to run one of the new stores.
"A lot of hard work has gone in to this point and we're just getting the fresh [produce] together, along with the deli and bakery organised last minute.
"It feels just like yesterday that I came in here when it was a shell, with wiring everywhere, to this."
There was the hope to open before Christmas, but schedules were never perfect, Berney said.
Ground was broken on the 3100 square metre site in late 2015, following a smooth resource consent process with Porirua City Council and community consultation that gave plenty of feedback.
Berney said concerns about traffic would not likely be borne out, as he anticipated customers and motorists getting used to the new road layout quickly.
Wider aisles, large produce department and full production bakery would be a boon for customers, Berney said.
Rangikura School performed a haka at the opening and $500 worth of groceries were donated to the Porirua Salvation Army's foodbank.