Wholly Bagels is returning to Palmerston North with the hope that a change of location and a change of owners will bring a change of fortunes.
The longstanding Wellington-based company has purchased the lease on 68 The Square, the empty lot in the TSB building that was formerly the home of The $2 Shop.
The store is part of Wholly Franchise Ltd's nationwide expansion plan in 2014, with the company aiming to build seven stores across New Zealand, including Auckland and Christchurch, by the end of the year. Wholly Bagels managing director Sam Rama said work on the refit of the store would probably not begin for another 2 months because of lease and franchisee paperwork.
Because of that the estimated opening time of the store would be some time in April, Mr Rama said.
When open, the Palmerston North store will be the second of its kind to be built with the company's "new concept". It would be licensed with a cafe-restaurant feel and would be focused on providing a New Zealand-made experience. That would include Hawke's Bay-made furniture in store, Mr Rama said.
In the company's first foray into the city it was based out of the current location of Nandos inside The Square, but that ended in liquidation in 2009.
In the following months the Palmerston North City Council lost out to the tune of nearly $40,000 in unearned rent and expenses that had to be written off.
Mr Rama said the original location had been a "dead spot" and he was confident the market existed in the city for the Wholly Bagels brand.
The company was bringing in a different owner to the franchise store and the new location would help tempt Manawatu tastebuds, he said.
"Palmerston North is quite a vibrant place and that area of town, it's close to the mall and The Square itself and we think it will have a lot of appeal for people."
Four or five people would be employed in the store initially.
Palmerston North City Council spokesman John Brenkley said there were no hard feelings towards the Wholly Bagels brand for what had happened in the past and he welcomed the added business to the central business district.
"It certainly had quite a big following among council staff when it was based in the council's building so it's good to have it back."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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