An “iconic” block of shops in Mount Maunganui has closed on the cusp of summer - frustrating some shop owners who will miss out on busy trading days over the holiday period.
Locals have headed to Mount Maunganui’s Ōmanu shops for takeaways, haircuts, coffees and a bottle of wine for generations but the shops are closing this week ahead of a redevelopment project on the site.
The work is expected to take six to eight months. Most of the retailers hoped to reopen once the project was complete with one business indicating it would not return when the new building opens.
The owner of Ōmanu Superette declined to comment but confirmed it would not be reopening.
George cafe owners Luke McCartin, his wife Claire Beard and business partner Vicki Mage said they felt ”gutted and disappointed” to be closing over the summer period. They hoped to reopen once the work was finished but it was not guaranteed given the loss of summer trade.
In his opinion: “It’s just really bad timing.
“We would’ve really liked to have this summer open after Covid-19 and the horrific weather this winter.”
McCartin said he felt for his customers and staff.
Although there were plenty of other coffee shops, McCartin believed his customers were loyal because they had a strong connection to the cafe.
Sam Cao, owner of Ōmanu Takeaways, has owned the business for four years but the shop has been operating since the 1940s.
From his perspective: “It’s (the closure) not very convenient for the people but they are quite looking forward to us coming back.”
Thirsty Liquor Ōmanu owner Ricki Gill also felt “a bit disappointed it’s closing just before Christmas”.
He has owned the store since 2010 and hopes to have his store back next year.
When the Bay of Plenty Times visited on Friday before the retailers prepared for their last weekend long-time customers described the block of shops as “iconic”.
Caroline Martelli said she had been a loyal customer of the Ōmanu shops since she was a young girl. Her parents would often buy fish and chips and the family would eat them on the beach.
“Now with my daughter, we’ve done the same thing and it’s just iconic,” Martelli said.
“We go into the dairy with the dogs, get icecream and then we go for a walk along the beach.”
While she knew the shops needed to be rebuilt, she wished the stores could have stayed open for the summer.
Martelli posted on social media calling the community of Omanu to “show our love and thanks by visiting them over the weekend.”
The post received more than 350 comments.
One commenter, Bronwyn Bernie, said she had lived on Oceanbeach Rd in the early 1960s when she was a child.
She remembered the superette, the fish and chips shop, the butcher and the hairdresser that were there at the time.
She would walk with her two brothers to the superette for bread and milk and recalled buying fish and chips and sharing them on the beach.
The owner of the complex was approached for comment.
Harriet Laughton is a multimedia journalist based in the Bay of Plenty.