Feilding Write Price closing as New World upgrade takes hold
Feilding's oldest supermarket Write Price is closing, leaving 35 people facing an uncertain future.
Foodstuffs North Island has confirmed the store that has greeted customers on Warwick St since 1981 will shut in October - or later if a lease extension can be negotiated - and a bigger and better New World is earmarked as its replacement.
The franchise intends to relocate its New World on Fergusson St to a 1.3-hectare plot on the corner of Aorangi and Gladstone streets, originally intended for a Pak'n Save.
Foodstuffs North Island spokesman Antoinette Laird said 23 full-time and 12 part-time staff had been informed of the decision.
The company was attempting to negotiate an extension on its lease to retain staff until the opening of the Aorangi St New World.
Laird said the Write Price building was "very" dated and required significant investment to bring it up to standard.
Foodstuffs' plan was to enable the Write Price to continue operating until the new New World opened, Laird said.
"Foodstuffs holds the head lease on the building which is valid for several years, but the current operators lease finishes in October.
"We are working with the owner to continue operating the Write Price until the new New World opens next year, enabling the store to continue serving its loyal customers," Laird said.
"Due to the increased size of the new supermarket we anticipate there will be opportunities for the Write Price team."
Manawatu District Council mayor Helen Worboys said she knew some staff who worked at the supermarket personally and they were devastated.
She had been in contact with Foodstuffs and said they had told her of their hope to keep Write Price open until the New World was operational.
But long-term, she was concerned.
"If the town is left with no supermarket that caters for lower income people, that's a huge loss."
Worboys said in Levin, there was a Write Price and a New World.
"If Levin can do it, why can't Feilding?"
She was also concerned that the closure would push residents to Pak'n Save in Palmerston North.
"When people do that, they do their other shopping over there as well."
Laird said they appreciated the news was challenging for staff and their priority was ensuring they had the support they needed.
"An analysis of the demographics and projected population growth of the catchment indicates that the community is not large enough to sustain two of our supermarket businesses."
Foodstuffs was investigating whether it could relocate employees to its other stores in Palmerston North and Laird said staff would be able to apply for roles at the new supermarket.
* Correction: An earlier version of this article had a headline that implied the closure of Write Price was funding the New World upgrade. This is not the case.