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Ghost aisles: The soon-to-be closed supermarket that’s a shadow of what it once was

Author
Michaela Gower,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 2:11PM

Ghost aisles: The soon-to-be closed supermarket that’s a shadow of what it once was

Author
Michaela Gower,
Publish Date
Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 2:11PM

The aisles of a soon-to-be-shut New World supermarket in Hawke’s Bay are eerily bare, with a councillor saying the shopping experience is now filled with sadness. 

Evidence of the impending Flaxmere New World closure on Sunday is everywhere. 

Once filled with choices, the shelves now contain only the basics - bread, milk, toilet paper, canned goods, dairy products, baking products - though a local who visited this week noted there was still a decent selection of beer available. 

Flaxmere New World shelves are empty as the store closes on February 25.Flaxmere New World shelves are empty as the store closes on February 25. 

A month ago Foodstuffs announced it would not renew the lease in March, due to the inability to upgrade the ageing building to its standard. 

When it closes for good the Flaxmere community will be without a suitable alternative in their growing suburb of 11,000 people, though Hastings District Council are in negotiations with Woolworths and others. 

Flaxmere councillor Henry Heke said he was disappointed and frustrated with the way Foodstuffs had handled the closure, saying that after the January announcement, workers in the store had almost immediately begun to pull stock off shelves. 

“There is hardly a range of products in the store this week. It’s very sad.” 

He said he maintained his commitment to see Flaxmere get what it deserves, but permanent solutions were only speculation. 

“If it is a new supermarket then fine, if it’s a food corp or smaller commercial stores like Mad Butcher, a greengrocer, or a vegetable mart then that’s beautiful.”  

Business owners Bob and Sunny Singh of the Swansea Island Food Mart say they will be expanding their store into a “mini-supermarket” style space to meet demand where possible.  

Buses regularly travel from Flaxmere to Hastings, but there have been calls for more efficient and reliable services from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. 

Still no firm solutions as the closure looms of Flaxmere's only supermarket looms. Photo / Paul TaylorStill no firm solutions as the closure looms of Flaxmere's only supermarket looms. Photo / Paul Taylor 

Heke said there would now be careful assessment of how the closure actually impacted the suburb. 

“On Wednesday, March 6 there will be a public hui to gather information and whanau needs after the actual closure to understand the impact,” he said. 

A former employee of the Flaxmere New World said in its heyday the store was driven by the community, but it had now been destroyed by “corporate bullies”. 

“I don’t see why they can’t forfeit a bit of money to upgrade.” 

A former supermarket employee said the building was a ticking time bomb.A former supermarket employee said the building was a ticking time bomb. 

“It’s been neglected for many years and it was a ticking time bomb.” 

He felt the supermarket building would become a loitering place and cause issues in the future. 

“It wasn’t what we wanted. It seems very un-unified, disjointed and a collapse between the community and what they want.” 

Foodstuffs was contacted for comment. 

Michaela Gower joined Hawke’s Bay Today in 2023 and is based out of the Hastings newsroom. She covers Dannevirke and Hawke’s Bay news and has a love for sharing stories about farming and rural communities. 

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