Horace, Barvesh and family at the Paekakariki dairy. Photo copyright Mark Coote/markcoote.com

Paekākāriki Village Grocery Store

“If they don’t know your name yet, it’s just a matter of time.”

A welcome to one of our two key sponsors

Text: Mark Amery

Image: Mark Coote


Today it was a toothbrush and a potato peeler, yesterday I really needed beer and cider. Tomorrow it will be chocolate, always chocolate. Oh and the bread and milk. And that amazing affordable curry in the chiller…

 This is the Aladdin’s Cave of the general store of a small village where locals are proud when they don’t have to venture over the tracks onto the belching highway for a good deal. And more importantly you venture out of the house to bump into neighbours and have a quick natter over the sweets counter. Welcome to pretty much Paekakariki HQ – where if they don’t know your name yet, it’s just a matter of time.

Horace took over at the Paekākāriki General Store in 1992. “April 1992” And he’s been on the shop floor ever since. “We just run it as a family business.” Today it’s Horace and Bhavesh. 

Things have grown over time. They now sell liquor, and are proud that their prices are the equal (if not the better) sometimes of Pak n Save. When Paekākāriki’s hardware store round the corner in Ames Street closed they also brought in a small range of home hardware essentials. It runs the gamut: “We can’t be a supermarket,” say Horace, “but we try to cater for everything Paekakariki people want. If we don’t have it we do our best to get it for you.”

They leave fruit and veges to the shop next door and when they close for the evening they sell on their behalf.

 “This is a small community and you don’t want to compete. Mind you, its hard to please all of the people all of the time. We try to please them some of the time!”

 A few years back resident and Unity Books owner Tilly Lloyd did a study of pricing for the newspaper Paekakariki Xpressed to prove that – against people’s natural assumptions – the prices at the store were very competitive with the supermarkets when petrol was taken into account.

 “I think we’re quite cheap, because I go to my relatives stores and all that. I know what they charge and what we charge. We even have customers who say we’re cheaper than New World, and we are because I’ve got to go and buy the odd salad there and look at the prices. I won’t say everything, but some things.”

Now for that tub of ice cream…