Ideas wanted for shop site

LOUISE BERWICK
Last updated 12:15 09/07/2012

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A cinema, a greengrocer and a gourmet food shop are among the options to give a new lease of life to a former Ruby Bay shop.

The Ruby Bay On the Spot Dairy closed its doors earlier this year.

Kester Macfarlane, who has owned the building for 10 years, said it had been occupied for most of that time, but in March the tenants decided not to renew their lease.

He believed the main reason why the tenants shut their doors was the opening of the Ruby Bay Bypass, which meant the dairy missed out on passing customers.

However, he believed the building could still be put to good use, and he had a range of ideas about what it could be used for, such as a gourmet food shop.

He envisaged local produce being sold there, including home-killed meat, olive oils, chutneys and jams.

He believed that if the shop stocked local produce, it could become popular and attract people from throughout the region.

"People love travelling somewhere in the weekend."

Another idea was a boutique cinema that played movies in the evenings and "crafty-type videos" during the day, Mr Macfarlane said.

"It is a nice old building. It should be used for something."

While he thought it was unlikely to be a dairy again, someone with energy and new ideas could run a successful business, he said.

"The rent's real reasonable."

He said the On the Spot Dairy had not been the only business in the area that was struggling. He had heard that some shops in Mapua were struggling as well.

The owner of one Mapua shop had told him that since the bypass opened, the shop had experienced a drop in takings.

Mr Macfarlane said he had expected the dairy to shut at some stage after the bypass opened in 2010.

"We knew it was going to fold.

"I think the $30 million could have been spent on education and health, and not making a big, silly road where people can get to Motueka quicker."

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