Lesley and Graham Lance have opened a furniture and furnishing store in the new retail building on Mill Lane in Warkworth.
Graham, a third generation engineer, says their new business came about almost by accident.
“We were using a piano stool as a temporary side table so I went down to the workshop and built a really nice industrial-style piece,” Graham says.
Graham has worked in engineering-related businesses for 30 years and Lesley has worked in retail.
Graeme says he wanted support Lesley’s passion for interior design, as it has been her dream to start a store.
“I said to her, ‘Go girl. You’ve supported me for 31 years and now it’s my turn to help you’.”
Most of that support was during Graham’s motorcycle racing days. He still builds and customises bikes, but hung up the racing leathers after breaking his back at Pukekohe Raceway.
“I’m another victim of the hill at Puke. I pushed a bit too hard, ran out of room and the front wheel disintegrated after hitting the edge of the rumble strip,” Graham says.
Lesley and Graham moved to Algies Bay from the North Shore two years ago. Graham is originally from Christchurch and Lesley is from Gisborne. She says retail runs in her family.
“My grandfather had a furniture and furnishings shop in Gisborne years ago,” Lesley says. “It’s in my blood and I feel very excited and privileged to be here.”
The shop is an eclectic treasure trove, from nautical searchlights to giant zebra prints, soft furnishings, giftware and industrial-inspired furniture. The shop is divided into six sections from ‘man-land’ to the boudoir.
Lesley describes the blend of urban and industrial as “a bit of country and a bit of rock ’n’ roll”.
The couple is also open to sourcing or designing bespoke pieces to customers’ specifications.
“I think of this shop as my home, and my customers are guests. If the coffee wasn’t so good down the road I’d even offer to make them one!”