Naked Pie Man strips out food, drink
Food and drink stripped from Pie ManKATHRYN KING
Palmerston North's Naked Pie Man Leighton Haar has often been shirtless, but now he's pie-less as well.
The infamous Naked Pie Man Shop in Fitzherbert Ave has been stripped of its pies, drinks and confectionery in order to comply with regulations to get an interim licence to sell legal highs.
The store, along with Lotz of Potz across the street in Fitzherbert Ave, got the tick at the end of last month.
A new R18 Express store selling legal highs, also owned by Lotz of Potz, has also been given an interim licence and operates out of a space next to the Naked Pie Man shop that used to be used for storage.
Mr Haar, who runs the Naked Pie Man shop, said he was given a choice over whether to keep the convenience store products or become a smokes-only shop.
"They gave us the opportunity to do so, originally we weren't allowed to change."
After legislation was passed tightening up on the sale of legal highs, the store stopped trading in legal highs while waiting on a licence, seeing only a fraction of the usual number of customers.
Mr Haar chose to ditch the convenience store products.
"It was a no-brainer because we were losing $1500 a week," he said.
The store is now closed from midnight to 4am on Thursday nights and Saturday nights because he "didn't have anything to give the drunks". Mr Haar said he had been on an "adrenaline high" since the licence came through.
Customers had returned.
"When I went down to about one-third of the customers I had before, 100 per cent great people, it was boring because I didn't have the flow and I'm a people person.
"I'm here for the people first, I've got what they want, we've got a good transaction and at the end of the day, because I provide the best service around I make quite a bit of money."
But don't expect the name of the store to change. "When a star does a particular role they're always known [as that character] for the rest of their lives."
Five Palmerston North businesses have been granted interim licences to sell legal highs in seven outlets.
A further two Palmerston North businesses are still awaiting approval, as is a Feilding business.
Following a public petition, the Palmerston North City Council has agreed to develop a local policy restricting the sale of legal highs, but work cannot begin until next February after a new council has been sworn in.
By that time, it is hoped some uncertainties about the Psychoactive Substances Act might have been resolved.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Do you agree with increased oil exploration?