Dannevirke New World's new owners Bruce and Kristy Jenkins are looking forward to becoming entrenched in the community as they settle into their challenge of operating the town's busiest store.
The couple took over the business last Monday, taking over from Garry and Bridget Hasler who had owned the store for 12 years.
Bruce and Kristy gained their initial retail experience running the Ohope Four Square for just over two years.
Bruce says that experience taught him about the retail and grocery industries and the way Foodstuffs operates.
"Ohope was a very seasonal store, the summer months were busy but after a couple of quiet winters in the beach-side store we wanted a bigger challenge."
The Jenkins then bought the Murupara Four Square which they ran for three and a half years.
"This really was a huge challenge, it was a very deprivated community with high unemployment and a lot of social issues."
Despite these challenges Bruce and Kristy managed to increase the store's turnover by a whopping 95 per cent.
"We had phenomenal customer feedback. There was virtually nothing we didn't change about the business including totally turning around the culture and staff engagement."
That success led to the Jenkins winning the medium business category of the Eastern Bay of Plenty Horizon Business Excellence Awards and the ultimate Supreme Award.
To win was no easy task as there is a very stringent judging process that looks at every aspect of the business.
Bruce says it's from there that Foodstuffs recognised his desire to progress to the next level and he was selected for the New World training programme.
"I spent several months completing that and we were fortunate enough to be selected to purchase the Dannevirke store.
"It's a lovely store with a great staff and well run. We are very privileged to be given the opportunity to be accepted into this community and especially to own and operate a store such as this."
Bruce said he and Kristy were looking forward to the challenge ahead, as they have with their previous businesses.
"We are looking forward to continuing the improvements on the back of the work of the previous owners and working with a positive and dynamic team to provide the best customer service we can for the community."
Bruce says it is a bigger operation and because of that he and Kristy are in it for the long haul.
"It's a huge commitment but we are pretty excited about it even though there are 1001 things to organise when buying a business such as this. Garry and Bridget have been marvellous to deal with and made the process a lot easier. We wish them the very best in their very much deserved retirement."
While Bruce has worked in various places around the country, he is no stranger to the Tararua district.
"I was Wellington born and bred but as a teen I spent most of my school holidays in Woodville as my father owned some race horses and I used to work in the stables where they were trained. I took every opportunity to work there up until the time I left school, so I have quite a connection to the district."
Before entering the retail industry Bruce was in the police and was stationed at Porirua for 15 years.
It was during this time he made another connection with Dannevirke. He was Detective Sergeant on the investigation into the deaths of sisters Saliel Aplin and Olympia Jetson who were murdered by their stepfather Bruce Howse who was from Dannevirke.
"I worked extensively on that investigation and have connections through that."
From Porirua Bruce moved to Whakatane where he was Officer in Charge for nine years.
"During that time I met a lot of business people which inspired me to work for myself. I left the police do something on my own.
"I really loved policing and enjoyed it right up until the last minute. I've always enjoyed going to work, but I wanted a new challenge.
"There are a lot of things in policing that you can't un-see but that helps build resilience, which is a prerequisite to succeeding in business."
He says the skills he gained in the police are totally transferable to retail, especially communication and dealing with people.
"In looking for that new challenge I chose the grocery industry as it is totally customer driven, involves working as a team and as an added bonus is recession-proof."
Bruce and Kristy say they enjoy the customer focus and owning New World will give them the opportunity to interact with the community on a much more personal level.
"Supporting local businesses is paramount to a small community surviving," Bruce says.
They have now started a Facebook and Instagram account for New World Dannevirke which they encourage everyone to follow and will be using this site to keep the local community informed of promotions, activities and good news stories.