FIRST SALE: James and Ellen McDaid are the first customers through the checkout at Edgecumbe Supervalue’s grand reopening yesterday morning. Photo Mark Rieder D9052-22

AFTER more than two years without a grocery store, Edgecumbe residents are celebrating the reopening of Supervalue at Riverslea Mall.

One of the properties affected by the 2017 flood, disagreements and delays over insurance payouts held up repairs until just recently.

Edgecumbe resident Jackie Baker said the reopening was an important event for the community.

“It’s a great thing for the town and for those who live out of town too. It’s going to bring jobs and as one of the town’s central points, I think it’s important,” she said.

Supervalue owner Don Gorrie said the past two and-a-half years had taken its toll and he was happy that things were finally back to normal.

“I offer my sincere apologies that it has taken so long. We’ve worked tirelessly to get it open and you just wouldn’t believe the struggles we had to get here.

“It’s been the most difficult time you could imagine. There were just so many things that were outside my control,” he said.

Though the closure caused great inconvenience for residents, Ms Baker said she thought most residents did not hold a grudge.

“I think people are just going to be happy it’s open,” she said.

If not for the dairies covering the shortfall, she said the situation would have been worse.

Other residents commented on how grateful they were that the local dairies did not take advantage of the situation and kept their prices low.

One said she hoped that now the Supervalue was open again, townspeople would remember and continue to support the dairies as well.

Mr Gorrie said the entire shop had new equipment at no small expense and that it was on par with the most modern shopping experiences around.

“Even the people who have voiced their disapproval over the amount of time it’s taken to open, I invite them to come and look. If they’re still not happy, I’ll accept that, but I think everyone who comes in here will be impressed,” he said.

Resident Ria Davis said she was impressed with what Mr Gorrie had done with the store.
“It’s looking lovely and inviting,” she said.

Henry Patangata said he was looking forward to doing his shopping in the store again.

“It’s good to have our store back again. It’s been a long time,” he said.

Mr Gorrie said the delays were mostly due to insurance issues but that there were many aspects to the process that slowed everything down.

“People were doing the total opposite of what they should have to get the store open,” he said, “but let’s look toward the future. This is the time to give people what they deserve.”

He said though there was still some work to do, once completed, people could look forward to “probably the best shopping experience in this part of the Bay of Plenty”.

“This is the most modern supermarket around. Everything you see in the shop is totally brand new. I’m proud of it and I hope the community can be proud of it too,” he said.

He said if not for the support of friends and other members of the community, getting the store up and running would have been an onerous task.

“Neighbours and members of the community helped to get this up and running. That’s the great thing about this small community, people get involved and roll up their sleeves to help,” he said.

“All I can say to the contractors and the local people is a huge thanks because it’s been a tough time.”