Te Awamutu Paper Plus is on cloud nine after being named Large Store of the Year in the Paper Plus Group Gala Awards.

The awards were held in the function room at the Auckland Museum and were attended by around 400 Paper Plus members and suppliers.

Te Awamutu Paper Plus owner Murray Green said he was "stunned" to receive the award.

"We had no idea we were in the running so were surprised when we came up as a finalist, and then to win it," he said.

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"We have been a finalist before, and won other awards over the years, but this was the big one."

Te Awamutu's award-winning Paper Plus store. Photo / Dean Taylor
Te Awamutu's award-winning Paper Plus store. Photo / Dean Taylor

Judges commended the store's support of the Te Awamutu community and local sports groups including the Te Awamutu Netball Centre, the Golf Course Fun Run, author events and Murray's athletics involvement.

The store was also congratulated for its merchandising, commitment to quality customer service, helpful and friendly staff and high 'swipe rate' of the group's loyalty card.

Te Awamutu has had a Paper Plus store since the group's inception in 1983 when Richard and Rosemary Guy signed up their store known as Guys Bookshop.

The history runs further back with the business originally called Burns Bookshop for nearly 50 years.

Murray and Linda Green bought the business in 1998 in partnership with Bill and Lynda Frazerhurst and Murray's parents Russell and Yvonne Green.

In 2003 the Frazerhursts bought Paper Plus in Kerikeri and moved north, with the Greens buying their shares and a few years later Murray and Linda purchased the business outright.

The store has also held a NZ Lotteries franchise since the inception of Lotto in 1987 and added the Toyworld franchise a couple of years after joining Paper Plus.

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The store was originally in the Burns Building in Alexandra Street and the Guys moved it to larger premises at 263 Alexandra Street in 1992, now occupied by Noel Leeming.

The Greens moved the business to still-larger premises in November 2011, taking over the Mitre 10 building in Arawata Street.

Murray says he and Linda are proud of their community involvements, which have also included fundraising events for Red Nose Day and Breast Cancer Foundation NZ.

His athletics involvement starts with the local club and extends to coaching at Te Awamutu College.

Murray is also chairman of Athletics Waikato/Bay of Plenty.

The Paper Plus Group encourages its members to be community-minded, which Murray says is the Te Awamutu store's point of difference.

"We are proud of high standards that our many staff have upheld over the years and they have all contributed to the legacy that has led to this award," he says.

"We have also given many kids their first job and it has been great to see them come on board at about age 16 or 17 and mature in to fine young people.

"A number of our students have progressed to being head students or dux at Te Awamutu College and we still see many former staff in the store on a daily basis, while other are scattered all over the world."