If there is one thing that has been hammered home during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is that staying local is one way to reduce the risk of being exposed to the virus.
With that in mind, Ash and Yogita Patel have opened the Whangaparaoa MiniMart on Whangaparaoa Rd, opposite Whangaparaoa College.
The store carries all the necessities of a well-stocked convenience store, from groceries to pet food, some hardware and stationery, and bait and fishing gear.
The couple is putting a particular focus on competitively priced fresh fruit and vegetables.
“We’ve got a good range of all the basics, but as trade picks up, we’ll expand the range of fruit and vegetables we stock,” Ash says. “We also plan to introduce a selection of fresh meat in future.”
One section that is already proving popular is the store’s scoop ice creams with 19 flavours to choose from. Milkshakes, thickshakes and slushies are also available.
Ash and Yogita are no strangers to the grocery business. Since 2001, they have operated stores and dairies in Kerikeri, Ruawai, Matakana, Patea and on the Karikari Peninsula.
Originally from the small village of Gujarat, in India’s central west, the couple met just 20 days before they were married. Seventeen years later, they have two sons, now attending Whangaparaoa College and Whangaparaoa Primary.
“We love small towns but decided to move to a bigger area for the sake of the boys’ education,” Ash says. “The Coast was perfect as it is close to the city, but still has a community feel. When we saw this space was available, we could see it was perfect for a grocery store as it is surrounded by good support shops and there is plenty of parking.”
Ash says that wherever they have lived, they have been keen to get involved with local schools and sports clubs, and to support the community.
Cricket is also one of his passions.
“Since moving to the Coast, I’ve joined a team in Auckland.”