The opening of a new multimillion-dollar trade centre in Hastings yesterday has been lauded as evidence of the district's booming economy.
After investing more than $4m into a new trade centre on Heretaunga St, Bunnings commercial manager (NZ) Des Bickerton said Hastings' thriving building industry and the "booming" wider Hawke's Bay economy were major reasons behind the move.
"It's significant that we now have two premises here and we have growth here in Hastings.
"We used to be Benchmark Building Supplies and we had a really strong presence here, then obviously when Bunnings came along and took over our Benchmark stores and rebranded them, we really realised we've always wanted to have a strong presence here, so this is exciting for us.
"We've got a property team always looking for property and certainly we were happy to come back to the Hawke's Bay area.
"It's a great opportunity, especially on our trade side we deal with everything from orchardists, farmer to builders."
The new trade centre is the company's eighth New Zealand-based trade centre and the company's second premises in Hastings, alongside the Bunnings Warehouse on Market St.
The Heretaunga St trade centre will also provide local tradies with new advanced building products from the UK and US.
The trade centre is 3000sq m and includes an undercover drive-through area and 25 parking spaces.
Store manger Peter Cuckow said he and a team of 12 staff members were raring to go.
"We have a team of 12, they are all local, and that's the Bunnings way to employ local.
"It's very exciting for us, we can't wait to get cracking and serve all the Hawke's Bay. There's already been a lot of feedback, there's some very excited builders as we see by the turnout today, which has been quite good."
The trade centre was officially opened by former All Blacks Taine Randell and Jeff Wilson. Randell, a Hawke's Bay resident, said the investment into Hastings was fantastic news.
"For Hawke's Bay, certainly the last few years have been fantastic and to have an international company like Bunnings to have the confidence to invest in Hastings is fantastic," Mr Randell said.
Over the last two years 200 commercial and industrial building consents have been granted in Hastings, adding up to a value of about $100m, including this year a $1.3m consent for a new cidery and a $2m new cool store.
Hastings District Council economic development and urban affairs committee chairman Damon Harvey said the Bunnings investment was also welcome.
"It's fantastic that to see an international brand having confidence in the Hastings district market, for the fact that they have actually completed two large-scale commercial developments in the last two years. They obviously see that there is plenty of opportunity within the construction sector and the DIY residential market.
Another positive for the economy was the release of new industrial land in Omahu and Irongate.
"Businesses like Irongate – Sunfruit and Axis are already building and moving into these industrial zones."