A reciprocal welcome on High St

JARED NICOLL
Last updated 06:44 18/12/2012

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New shopowners along High St, in Picton, are praising support from residents and are crossing their fingers for a busy summer.

The town has seen a growing number of visitors during the past few weeks and business owners are preparing for the typically busy holiday season.

Richard Cleal and his partner Bonnie Karauria, Lorna Perry, and Kevin and Jan Colville shared their thoughts ahead of their first summer running businesses on High St.

Koru: A Seafood Affaire owner Richard Cleal opened the restaurant with his partner, Bonnie Karauria, in mid-September.

"We're looking forward to January and the holiday season, more people and more business," Mr Cleal said.

"We don't know what winter will bring. September was good for us but November was a bit quiet.

"There's been so much good support from the locals. We wanted to start low-key and get to know them."

The couple serve fresh seafood by night and tailor the menu to turn the restaurant into a cafe during the day.

The meals are not strictly seafood, some of the dishes include steak and oysters or shrimp with cream cheese and chicken.

The couple moved to Picton from Ashburton in January. Mr Cleal worked for Nelson Ranger Fishing before they bought the business in June.

"We came up to see if we liked the place and just loved the area. We were going to go to Australia before this came up.

"We came to the restaurant [formerly the White Elephant] and the owner said it was for sale."

$2 $3 Andmore owner Lorna Perry opened her store in late September and said she noticed more people coming through the town every week.

"It's going very well and the response from the local people has been really wonderful."

Ms Perry has lived in Picton for about two years and wanted to "be her own boss" again after running a similar store in Masterton before moving south.

"I'm looking forward to finding out how busy it's going to be because everybody tells me it's going to be so busy. It'll be a real learning curve."

The store sells a wide range of products for $2 or $3 each.

She had no problem finding staff, she employs two college students and her two daughters.

Mikey's Bar co-manager Kevin Colville took over the running of the bar with his wife, Jan Colville, in mid-July.

It was pretty quiet then, but business had picked up week by week since the end of winter, Mr Colville said.

"It's started getting busy the last couple of weeks, there's more tourists coming through and we're getting strong support from locals too.

"We're hoping to keep busy right up until March, we've got functions booked until Easter."

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Mr Colville works at Summit Real Estate, across the road from the bar, and his wife is a pre-school teacher in Blenheim.

He owned a country hotel in Christchurch before getting into real estate and the business experience was an advantage when taking the reins at Mikey's Bar.

"It's going to be long hours over summer but we've got the staff to help deal with that there's plenty of people looking for work."

- The Marlborough Express

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