Regional | Flaxmere

Flaxmere New World building: Plans for independent supermarket revealed

The empty Flaxmere New World building could be filled soon by an independent supermarket. Photo / Paul Taylor

The owners of the former Flaxmere New World building have signed a lease, with a new tenant planning to open an independent supermarket.

The Sung Family Trust said basic work had been carried out on the building and it hoped work would be completed by the end of the year.

“The tenant’s work will start soon after,” a family spokesperson said.

The Sung Family Trust couldn’t confirm the name or a specific timeline for when the independent supermarket would open in the Hastings suburb.

“By request of tenant, we are unable to release further information, they will release more information when the time comes.”

The lease for the ageing building in the heart of the growing suburb was up for renewal in March, with Foodstuffs North Island confirming it would not take it up due to the significant refurbishment the building needed.

The New World store closed its doors on February 25, and left residents with no suitable long-term option on the horizon.

In May a community-initiated Flaxmere food co-op was launched, inspired by the closure and community need.

Manaaki Mai o Pāharakeke, a partnership of Sustainable HB, Flaxmere College, local organisations and residents, was formed after a picket-line protest outside the axed New World supermarket.

The initiative allowed shoppers to place orders online through a simple and user-friendly process for the selection of a kete of kai that suited their whānau.

Hastings ambassador Henare O’Keefe said in January before the closure that Flaxmere was on the up and it was only a matter of time before the supermarket was replaced.

“Flaxmere is an opportunity and not a liability,” he said.

O’Keefe, who was a Hastings district councillor for 15 years, said the increase in population had led to a demand for infrastructure such as a supermarket.

“We are hitting the 12,000 mark now, so we are in desperate need of a supermarket, and so there are opportunities there for anyone who wishes to take it.”

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

See here for Te Ao Maori News’ report on the closure in January.