Kirkcaldie's doormen - proud city icons

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2014
Kirks doorman
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ

MEET AND GREET: Kirkcaldie & Stains doorman Neville Wellbourn thinks he's got the best office in the city.

Relevant offers

Better Business

Why your love of Facebook could be ruining your career Snapchat could be a bullying headache for managers Women hit glass ceiling early as men promoted faster South Island's biggest philanthropic trust wants more bang for its buck New plans for $150m redevelopment of Johnsonville Shopping Centre How Google, Amazon and Starbucks and other famous companies got their names 'Bring it on': The Warehouse boss Nick Grayston says to rivals Award winning Method recycling business fast tracks Australian export plan Auckland bakery Amano in Britomart mills its own flour for better bread New Zealand's Deloitte Fast 50 regional winners announced

When Neville Wellbourn became a Kirkcaldie & Stains doorman nine years ago, he didn't realise he would also become an unofficial guide to the city.

The 65-year-old is one of two doormen at the department store, the other being Tom Neve, who has clocked up 15 years.

Being a doorman is not exactly what Wellbourn dreamed of as a boy growing up in Christchurch, but it fits in with a resume of people-focused employment throughout his life.

"My base training was as an occupational therapist and I've worked in management and HR but I've probably spent most of my professional career in the not-for-profit environment.

"I was made redundant in a job and spent some time as a volunteer guide at the hospital in 2004, which was a lot of fun and I saw this job going and thought, ‘well I can do that'."

Wellbourn believes people like the idea of a doorman because it is traditional, simple and "old school".

"It's not rocket science. It's very basic, meet and greet and answer any queries people have. Ironically there are more questions about things outside of the store than inside, like ‘Where's Te Papa?' "

The uniform and top hat receive interesting reactions.

"Kids love it; people find it unique . . . it's interesting in the cruise season - for better or worse you become a bit of a photo opportunity."

Wellbourn says he will never forget when Billy Connolly asked him for directions, and he never minds when people stop for a chat.

Managing director John Milford says both Wellbourn and Neve are "fantastic assets" to the store. "They set the scene for the customer experience that Kirks prides itself on and they must be one of the most photographed attractions in the city."

Despite being eligible for retirement, Wellbourn hopes to remain a Kirkcaldies doorman for a few years yet.

"It's always in the back of the mind that someone will tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Look, we've made a decision to not have a doorman.' It would be sad . . . but while the opportunity's still here, I'll keep going.

"I think I've got one of the best offices in the city."

 

BE IN TO WIN

Today is the last day to enter Kirkcaldie & Stains and Positively Wellington Tourism's Royal of the Store competition. The prize includes an after-hours, private appointment with a personal shopping assistant, champagne and $2500 to spend. Enter at wicked.wellingtonnz.com/details/royal-of-the-store. --------------------

Ad Feedback

- The Dominion Post

Comments

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content