Mitre 10 Mega Warkworth turns 10 this month, prompting manager Cam Caithness to reflect on the grand opening day back in 2011.
He and his wife Celia hadn’t slept the night before. Their son was rushed to hospital with a serious case of croup.
“I left hospital in time to open the doors at 7am, without any sleep, and not knowing if anyone would turn up to see the new store,” he says.
That drama came on the back of weeks of organising a team new to retail to stack shelves with thousands of items.
But as things turned out, the grand opening was a blast. Strongman Levi Vaoga aka “Mr Mega”, famous for the phrase “Big is Good”, came along and the Black Caps played cricket in the aisles.
“We had massive support from the community. The store was pumping – the excitement was palpable and our team was buzzing,” Cam says.
In preparation for the opening, youth from Springboard Community Works were employed to do a final clean up. A relationship with Springboard continues to this day – the store sells firewood chopped and bagged by Springboard. Cam also worked with the local WINZ office to find staff to fill 40 new jobs.
He says the store opening allowed people looking to re-enter the workforce find employment and many of those original team members are still with the store today.