GAS Eketahuna's new owners Tanmay and Priti Patel have been living the "New Zealand dream" in Eketahuna for the past three years.
The couple, who also operate the town's Four Square and Liquor Centre, are thankful for the support they've received from the tight-knit community over the years, saying the town is "a little paradise you won't find anywhere else".
"Until all the formalities were completed with the buying of the petrol station last month, no one was aware of who was taking it over, so the town was pretty scared about who was coming in," Mr Patel said.
"When they knew that it was a local coming in again, the town was happy. They were hoping I would carry on the same quality of service that the last owners gave, so that's the responsibility I have to fulfil now."
Mr Patel said he can't believe it has already been a month since taking over the business from Ryan and Lisa Seator, who have opened a takeaway shop down the road.
"This month has just sneaked through I think. I used to open just the Four Square and liquor store each day but now I have a third operation here. And it's a completely different venture for me, so time went very fast, I didn't realise the year was over."
Mr Patel, originally from India, said he lived in Auckland for 10 years but always longed "to run away from Auckland somehow" and live a country life.
"When I first came to Eketahuna, I just loved it. I said, that's the place. It's a little paradise you won't find anywhere else. I have all I need and dreamed of here. A little community like this is just like a big family who look after each other, think of each other, appreciate each other.
"That's the main thing you need, and as long as I can keep the people happy and keep my responsibilities going in the form of a grocery store, liquor store, and now the petrol station, we will be all tied up together nicely."
Mr Patel lives in Eketahuna with his wife and 6-year-old son. His parents have also moved to the town. "Apart from the five of us, I've got another 500 that are always around me, so I've got a huge family if you ask me. This whole town is my family now, they look after me nicely."
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