The famous yellow livery is unmistakable but the size of the first Pak'nSave Mini in the country is also immediately obvious.

The Pak'nSave Mini is being trialled first in Levin and will offer 2500 key products based on shopper insights and basket analysis. A standard big box Pak'nSave would stock around 8000.

The new supermarket opened on Wednesday at 8am to queues of people waiting to get in to the former Write Price outlet.

Owner-operator Gwen Bailey said: "We were old and tired and defintely needed refurbishment."


Bailey said Write Price products were always 2 per cent lower than Countdown and now "we have Pak'nSave pricing", indicating prices would be lower still.

General manager of retail at Foodstuffs North Island Doug Cochrane said grocery retailing was going through an exciting time.

"Population growth and a change in shopper tastes for products and service at great value is putting pressure on companies like ours to move and adapt at speed.

"We need to try new things and learn quickly. We're trialling Pak'n'Save Mini in Levin which should give us a good indication of how the model might be received elsewhere in the country.

"While some people may think 2500 products is limiting customer choice, it's a common format in other parts of the world. Most of us tend to shop the same selection each week, branching out only when there's a special occasion or a challenging recipe.

A shopper heads into Pak n' Save Mini in Levin. Picture / Horowhenua Chronicle
A shopper heads into Pak n' Save Mini in Levin. Picture / Horowhenua Chronicle

"The Pak'n'Save Mini product range is carefully selected based on shopper insights and basket analysis where new stores like this one allow customers to pop in and out quickly as our lives get busier."

Horowhenua residents previously needed to travel to Palmerston North or Paraparaumu for Pak'nSave prices.

Pak'n'Save Mini employee David Ward had worked at Write Price for 13 years and said when he first heard Write Price was closing, he was worried staff would have to reapply for their jobs.

"We didn't and no one has lost their jobs," he said.

"The new store is awesome and long overdue."

Former owner of Write Price, Stuart Irons, who opened the supermarket in 1982 then sold it in 2006, was at the official opening of the new store.

Irons said when he first opened Write Price they trusted the customer to use a felt tip pen provided to write the price on the product for the checkout operators to calculate.

"It's a thrill to see what they have done here today, it's great for the town and region," he said.

Pak'nSave Mini operations manager Stuart Bailey said the new outlet had employed 100 per cent local tradesmen for the renovations.

"I am amazed at the quality of the work and their dedication," he said. "I don't think we would have got that if we went out of town."

Local contractors were Montgomery Construction, Over the Top Decorators, The Foundry, P&L Electrical, Woodley's Plumbing, and Floor Court.