A right royal celebration at Pic's

GREAT PRETENDERS:  Molly Martin (Kate Middleton) and Simon Brealey (Prince William) with Pic Picot, centre, at the opening of Pic’s Peanut Butter’s new warehouse in Wakatu Industrial Estate.
GREAT PRETENDERS: Molly Martin (Kate Middleton) and Simon Brealey (Prince William) with Pic Picot, centre, at the opening of Pic’s Peanut Butter’s new warehouse in Wakatu Industrial Estate.

The expansion of a Nelson peanut butter empire was given the right royal treatment at a function at Wakatu estate on Tuesday night.

However, empire builder Pic Picot might have done well to brush up on his royal history when he introduced the surprise guests as the Duke and Duchess of York.

"Cambridge," Wills and Kate enunciated. "It's Cambridge," they corrected the host as he welcomed the large crowd to the opening of the new warehouse for Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter.

A hush descended on the crowd gathered at the function as a grey four-wheel drive Porsche swept on to the courtyard and a jittery man in a black suit and dark glasses leapt out to control the crowd.

William and Kate, alias Simon Brealey and Molly Martin, alighted from the vehicle holding George, who was in fact a giant-sized jar of peanut butter swaddled in a teatowel held together with sellotape.

The British national anthem warbled as the bodyguard, who also filled in as the nanny last night [alias Hugh Neill], also brought the crowd to order.

Picot rose above the crown in a hiab forklift to deliver a short speech on the significance of the evening, which was primarily about peanut butter.

The six-year-old company has now celebrated two big milestones, including the millionth jar to have recently come off the line at the factory in Wakatu estate, and business expansion to the stage it needed extra space.

The company has taken on the head lease of the premises near the factory, which is now the warehouse officially opened on Tuesday night.

Picot acknowledged the role of the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce in its support of local businesses, the neighbours at Wakatu estate, which he described as a "really neat place to work", plus the "peanut butter people" in attendance last night, including the marketers and distributors.

He also paid special tribute to the peanut butter makers, plus building owner Bill Coman, who had also been an "extraordinary mentor".

Picot then descended and handed the baton to William and Kate, who did the honours of cutting the ribbon and then tossed peanut butter "slugs" to the crowd.

William’s speech, delivered in a genuine top notch British accent included him paying homage to New Zealanders’ business drive being as great as their drive in rugby. He also asked to be notified when Pic began making peanut butter flavoured baby food so George could sample it.

As the slugs were tossed to the crowd Neill chanted three hip hoorays and began singing, ‘‘for she’s a jolly good warehouse’’.

The couple playing the part are newcomers to Nelson, from England’s Worcestershire, although Martin is a New Zealand citizen having lived here before.

Brealey, an actor who has worked in professional productions in England and was recently working as an entertainer in a holiday park,  is fresh off the plane and was now seeking sales work in Nelson.

Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter started with a $10,000 concrete mixer and a tonne of peanuts. The factory is now producing 7000 jars a day mainly for the domestic market, and turnover this year is expected to hit $5 million.

About 20 per cent of what’s produced goes overseas, mainly to Australia from where the peanuts are sourced.

The company now employs 16 staff in production and administration, and there are also plans to convert existing factory premises into a ‘‘peanut themed attraction’’, en route to making Nelson ‘‘New Zealand’s peanut capital’’