Bayleys Whanganui has moved to smart new premises and, along with Bayleys Ruapehu, has new owners.

John Bartley and Knud Bukholt took over the franchise for the two areas a few months ago and began upgrading the former Salvation Army building on the corner of Guyton and Wicksteed streets for their new offices.

Bukholt has more than 30 years' experience in the rural sector and has been with Bayleys Whanganui for more than 10 years as a rural and lifestyle salesperson.

However, working in real estate is a new venture for Bartley who brings extensive experience in management and as a business owner. His strategy has been to purchase existing businesses, improve their systems and processes, focus on customer service and develop a great culture among the staff.


Over the years, his portfolio has diversified to include businesses in the retail, IT, logistics and warehousing, advertising and finance sectors and a boutique tourism business.

Bartley, who still retains other business interests, said he was looking forward to a new challenge in a different industry.

"It's still customer service and marketing orientated," Bartley said.

"Bayleys is a strong family brand. It's independently owned in Auckland and still run by the family. Here, it will be locally owned with good support from head office and a heavy community focus.


"We can help facilitate opportunities for Whanganui in business and tourism. We want to sponsor and support the Whanganui and Ruapehu communities."

They have already financed a fundraising shortfall for teenage snowboarder Tui Wikohika, of Raetihi, to help him achieve his dream of competing in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Bartley will concentrate on finance and building the team and its processes through continuous improvement, applying learnings about kaizen (improvement) from Japan.

The business employs 22 support and sales staff, including 10 in Ruapehu, and several more will be employed following the move into the new premises which provides much more space than the former Victoria Ave office.


"The business has a strong commercial and rural aspect," Bartley said.

"A main focus will be on trying to build residential growth through market exposure, quality training and support."