Arohanui Hospice opens new city store

Opening day customers familiarise themselves with the layout of the new Hospice Shop.
Richard Mays

Opening day customers familiarise themselves with the layout of the new Hospice Shop.

A good-sized crowd turned up for opening day of Palmerston North's new Arohanui Hospice store.

People queued patiently outside waiting for the ribbon cutting ceremony with city mayor Grant Smith. 

The new location, the former Stewarts Electrical building on the corner of Walding and Lombard streets, may have 26 car parks, but such was the interest that all adjoining street parks were full, and the lack of accessible parking slightly delayed Smith's appearance.

Hospice chief executive Clare Randall told the gathering the new premises were due to the expanding business, which had outgrown three previous locations.

Randall said the original Hospice Shop opened in Walding St in September 1995, expanding into the shop next door before moving to Ngata St, and six years ago to Rangitikei St.

"Rangitikei St served us well, but with increasing growth we needed new premises... More than 11,000 have followed this on Facebook," Randall said.

She said the region's six hospice shops now provided just shy of $1 million annually, or 40 per cent of Arohanui's $2.5m operating shortfall.

Randall praised former landlord Sir Pat Higgins for his support, and the many city firms that had contributed to the move and store fit-out.

The Rangitikei St shop had been closed for two weeks while stock was moved to the new site, with personnel from RNZAF Base Ohakea providing the heavy lifting.

Co-manager Jennie Lewer said the shop's volunteers also helped out, moving stock in their own vehicles.

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"Our volunteers put in hundreds of hours. They've just been fantastic."

Lewer's management partner Joy McDonald said along with more parking for customers and volunteers, the new store had more storage, a bigger goods sorting area, and provided a safer working environment for volunteer staff.

Arohanui has benefited from $27,123.55 raised from the third pre-Christmas Tree of Remembrance campaign, which provided shoppers the opportunity to remember someone special during the festive season while making a donation. 

The money came from trees set up in the city's two Farmers  stores - the Plaza and Rangitikei St - and in Farmers Levin.

Arohanui Hospice strategy and operations director Louise Curtis was rapt that people contributed so much.

"This is the third year Farmers have partnered with Hospice NZ. We have a great relationship with our stores locally and we are absolutely thrilled with the amount raised." 

Nationally the Tree of Remembrance campaign in 61 Farmers stores raised $668,732. 

 - Stuff

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