Mini-mart venture change of pace for ex-Black Cap

KELSEY WILKIE
Last updated 12:50 18/06/2014
4sq
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ
All-rounder: Former New Zealand cricketer Chris Martin has bought the Hokowhitu Four Square in Palmerston North.

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What are the chances of going to a Four Square and finding an ex-Black Cap behind the counter?

Pretty high if you live in Palmerston North.

Retired Black Caps pace bowler Chris Martin has entered the mini-market business by buying the Hokowhitu Four Square on Albert St.

The veteran of 70 test matches and 20 one-day internationals will be working behind the till from next week.

"I might get a few aspiring cricketers coming and buying drinks," Martin said.

Martin, his wife Jane and daughters Ruby, 4, and Millie, 2, moved from Christchurch to Palmerston North two weeks ago to take over ownership of the mini-market.

"Jane and I were quite keen to have our own business. We wanted to have something we could own and operate and have ourselves.

"We also have a passion for food, which I suppose translated well to a Four Square."

Martin said the main driver for him to buy a Four Square was because of the support Foodstuffs, which owns the Four Square, Pak 'n Save and New World chains, provided and the potential for further business opportunities within the company.

Martin said he hoped the switch from sportsman to businessman would give him more time with his family.

His wife will be working at the store three to four times a week and he said he expected his kids to pop in from time to time.

"I suppose we're at the point of our lives where us and our kids, we wanted to get out of the big city and this little business suits us right now for what we're trying to do."

Martin has no previous customer service or retail experience but said his time with the New Zealand cricket team prepared him for a career as a business owner.

"I think with the cricket side of things you have to get out of bed every day and kind of do it for yourself . . . it's all about your attitude every day and getting into it. I think owning your own business is similar.

"I've been running myself as a cricketer and selling skills as, I suppose, a self-employed person and now I'm doing the same as a business owner and employer."

When Martin approached previous owner Bill Xu about purchasing the store six months ago, he warned the cricketer it was not an easy job.

"My advice - our business is about our community. I think service will be number one," Xu said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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