Last year was a "comfy shoe" one for Totalspan Kaitaia.

"Everything ticked along nicely, and I don't think we did anything particularly special," Yvonne Eason said. The judges of the annual franchise awards did not agree.

Proprietors Andrew and Yvonne, who bought the Kaitaia franchise previously operated from Kerikeri in 2012, came home from Rotorua with four awards, including their first Franchise of the Year Trophy after being runner-up last year.

"Top of the Country is now Top in the Country," Mrs Eason said. They also won the customer excellence, strategic excellence, and, for the second year running, the presentation awards.


"That means Kaitaia has the top display site in the country at present, which we are very proud of. Not bad for little old Kaitaia, up against the larger NZ Totalspan franchise areas," she said. "And we're further than anyone else from the factory [in Christchurch], which means more product tends to be damaged when it arrives here than elsewhere, and has to go back."

Totalspan has 27 owner-operated franchises throughout the country, all sell and promote only within their territory.

The Far North territory extends north from Otangaroa Rd, at Mangamuka, so all the Easons' business has been generated by locals and new arrivals to the area.

"We are most grateful for the great clients we have had, and continue to have," Mrs Eason said. "Of course our sub-contractors are also part of the bigger story as without them and their fantastic workmanship, from site works to the concrete slabs and the great team of builders we have to erect the products, and our plumbers and electricians, we would not be able to produce such a wonderful result for the Far North."

The couple have no employees of their own.

And what's their secret?

"We don't really have one," Mr Eason said.

"We just think everyone should be treated the way we like to be treated."