After years of working on Ponsonby Rd in Auckland, Glenn Harrison has brought his furniture and art collective to Whanganui.
Harrison, owner of Ancient + Modern at 57 Victoria Ave, secured the lease for the building a week prior to alert level 4 lockdown.
"We literally arrived four days before lockdown. It was a mad rush to get everything in before we couldn't get anything."
Harrison made the most of the lockdown, spending the last eight weeks cleaning up and taking "a million and one" tacks out of the wall to get the store ready.
After the lease on their Auckland store had ended, Harrison began tossing up the future.
"I had a shop lined up on Ponsonby Rd and something in my mind was triggered. Something is not feeling right. So I pulled out at the last minute."
Harrison is glad his mind was telling him something, as operating in Auckland post Covid-19 would have "killed" them.
"The market up there is difficult. It's a hard one to break into. The rent here is reasonable and the overheads are definitely a hell of a lot lower than they were in Auckland. A lot of people are suffering up there.
"It was better to move on and Whanganui was the next step."
Whanganui had been on Harrison's radar for a number of years and with his parents now living in Waverley, the move made sense.
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Whilst he hasn't been able to explore the town and region more due to the timing of his move, Harrison is enjoying Whanganui so far but admits he was sceptical when he first arrived.
"It was weird being here and looking out and seeing streets empty. It was like 'have we made the right decision?'
"As soon as we descended to level 2, you started seeing more mobility. It's a busy town; everyone has to come into town to do any sort of shopping."
Harrison describes his shop as a "collective" selling a mixture of European antiques, vintage Moroccan rugs, furniture and modern art collections.
"We've definitely got our own strong, unique look."
Harrison is in the midst of cleaning up the second storey of his building, where the main furniture showroom will be.
"The next room we are working on will be set up more as a gallery and we have another room should we need it.
Harrison has been in business for the past 16 years, having previously operated shops in Palmerston North, Levin and Otaki before taking the business up to Auckland a few years ago.
He has long been an admirer of Whanganui's art scene, regularly attending events.
"I've always known about the arts community here. It's really strong and really good. I've had associations with Whanganui artists over the years with the shops I've had nearby."
Harrison has sold works by notable artists Rachael Garland, Sophie Klerk and Katie Brown through the years.
Although he's excited to start his new journey in Whanganui, he is nervous about what the future holds as the country recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"A lot of people are travelling the country and spending money, we just don't know what it's going to look like in the long term."