Blackwells returns to its glory days

Last updated 08:21 29/11/2013
Blackwell's department store
Stacy Squires/Fairfax NZ

REOPENED: Andrew Blackwell prepares the rebuilt Blackwell's department store in Kaiapoi for its return to full business today.

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North Canterbury

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Loyal customers have flocked to the rebuilt Blackwell's department store in Kaiapoi after it reopened to the public two weeks ago.

The family-run store will today officially return to full business after three years of disruption following the earthquakes.

Director Michael Blackwell said the opening was another "small step" towards the recovery of the earthquake-damaged North Canterbury town.

The store was rebuilt on the same site as the 1921 Blackwell's building, which was demolished after the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4, 2010.

Established in 1871, Blackwell's is one of the oldest department stores in New Zealand, and brothers Andrew and Michael Blackwell are the fifth generation of Blackwells to manage it.

Michael Blackwell said despite the challenges they had never considered not rebuilding.

Despite being forced to operate in three temporary sites the company managed to retain all eight staff members and continue trading throughout the rebuild.

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