Naseby Store To Close on 20 September

Regrettably Kay and Alistair are unable to continue to operate the business beyond the end of next week and will be closing on 20 September and as a result the town will be without a general store for the first time in 151 years. The remaining stock will be offered at special prices on the 20th and we hope that you will visit the store to pick up some bargains and support Kay one last time as she endeavours to clear the remaining stock.

The Watts have generously continued to keep the business operating over the past few weeks in an effort to give Naseby Vision time to conduct a feasibility study into ways in which the business might operate in the future as a community-owned asset.

However, it could be some weeks before Naseby Vision is able to present the community with the results of its feasibility study.

Since the public meeting, the group has been busy looking at a range of options which might produce much-needed new revenue streams for the store. These activities have included a visit to the Millers Flat Four Square, a community-owned business which has operated successfully for the past 27 years from a smaller population base and without the benefit of the large seasonal influxes of visitors that come to Naseby.

The committee has also been seeking legal advice on appropriate structures for a community-owned company and is continuing discussions with the CODC and Community Board. Naseby Vision will call another public meeting when the feasibility study has been completed.

Following the recent town meeting a number of local people and holiday home owners have offered several thousand dollars in unsolicited pledges to support the store if the community agrees to the formation of a community company to acquire and operate the business.

In the meantime, the mail service will be continuing thanks to Steve Weidner taking up a short term contract with NZ Post to handle and distribute incoming mail. The Otago Daily Times has undertaken to install an honesty box outside the shop to sell papers and we understand that Wendy has kindly agreed to sell milk at the Black Forest CafĂ©.


Strong support at Save Our Store meeting for store to continue

Almost 80 people attended the meeting last night in the Naseby Town Hall at 6.00pm to discuss the closure of the Naseby General Store. We received 29 supportive apologies.

The majority present wished to see the shop and its services retained. (It was suggested by one, that we would just get used to the loss, and others raised the issue that as the business wasn’t viable despite a real effort by the current leases, why would we do any better?)

From the figures released it was clear that the profit margin was narrow and the cost of goods uncompetitive, however the owners of the Maniototo Four Square have offered to investigate the possibility of being able to supply Naseby with Four Square stock.

The CODC owns the building and pay its insurance and upkeep. The leasee pays rates and rent and insurance on the ‘inside’ of the shop. However, a proposal to the Maniototo Community Board from a Naseby community entity willing to lease the shop, would be welcomed we understand.

A number of people spoke about the importance of the ‘social capital’ that the shop has provided, that cannot be seen on a balance sheet. For example…”parents feel safe letting their children walk to the shop to buy ice cream, newspaper etc and how much the children loved the freedom of being allowed to do this” and, the huge service to the town that the Naseby Store does, answering the many enquiries from Naseby visitors day in day out.

The majority agreed to the establishment of a working party to go talk to the Directors of the Faigan’s Community Store at Millers Flat who have operated for 27 years, and explore the community company legal structure. There may be other entities suggested yet, but this one gives limited liability to the community Directors should the business get in to serious difficulty, there is usually no financial gain for the Directors, but there needs to be a profit goal and all surplus returns remain in the business or are distributed for the community good.

About 40% present agreed in principle to the mechanism of raising funds by debentures or shareholdings to purchase stock, plant, and interim operating costs etc and we have already received generous offers of financial support. We will need to explore how best to do this. Initial thoughts are that debentures may be structured in $100 units with people able to buy as little or as many units as they wish.

After the shop closes;

NZ Post will be arranging for someone to keep sorting the mail so this service will be seamless.

ODT is negotiating a newspaper drop off and purchase place and we will let you know.

We will also let you know where the keys to various Naseby buildings and the tokens for the museum will be held.

So, please let us know by e-mailing us now at nasebyvision@gmail.com  if:
(a)  you are in support in the direction taken from the meeting last night, or if you have strong reservations;
(b)  have any suggestions for new services or products the store could offer to improve turnover;
(c)  if you have any alternative suggestions to the community ownership proposal;
(d)  if you would be interested in purchasing debentures. An expression of interest is indicative and is not binding.
Naseby Vision is hoping to be in a position to report back to the community at the end of next week.