Workers at Countdown's Puketona Rd supermarket in Paihia found
themselves on the streets after a late court decision ended the
company's lease effective immediately yesterday.
up as usual for work from 7am yesterday but about 10am were asked to
leave, per the directions of the building owner Ian Blakeman of
Kerikeri. Mr Blakeman did not respond to requests for comment by the
Northern Advocate by edition time.
First Security was on hand throughout the day to turn away staff and customers, while the entire site was fenced off.
parent company Progressive Enterprises tried for a number of months to
renew the lease on the site before Mr Blakeman took the matter to the
Auckland High Court. It was due before the court on Tuesday at 5pm and
the court ruled in his favour.
The Advocate understands Countdown thought it had 24 hours to inform staff and vacate the premises.
Countdown managing director Dave Chambers said the company was exceptionally disappointed the site had to be vacated yesterday.
a long negotiation and our strong desire to continue to provide the
people of Paihia with their only full-service supermarket, we've been
asked to stop trading immediately," Mr Chambers said.
the company opened a smaller Countdown in central Paihia which stocked
essential produce, though it isn't able to sell alcohol.
who worked at the Puketona Rd location would been given the opportunity
to transition to new positions in Countdown's central Paihia, Kerikeri
and Kaikohe supermarkets.
Countdown has occupied the Puketona Rd site for the last 13 years and local residents have said they are upset at its closure.
woman, who did not want to be identified, said she had shopped at the
store almost every day since it opened and thought the workers would be
Locals knew there were some issues but thought they were talking them through, she said.