Symonds Street store reopening!

Welcome! Last week, St. Pierre’s opened our first new shop in 2022 – or should we say, reopened! Symonds Street is special to both St. Pierre’s and its community – but why?

Amid the concrete and tarmac, our building is a reminder of the past

The revamped shop is in central Auckland, in the heart of the vibrant university district. Surrounded by skyscrapers, our historic building is a landmark – one of the few brick buildings left among concrete office towers and apartments.

The Symonds Street shop has been popular among students, uni staff and office workers for many years, but it had one problem: size. It was tiny, meaning only four or five customers could fit, standing very close together. As well as social distancing concerns, the small shop meant a small kitchen, few staff, so a limited product selection.

The solution was to incorporate the neighbouring space, more than doubling its size! At the same time, we naturally kept the 100+ year old heritage features, giving the shop a unique feel.

The building before the St. Pierre’s shop expansion. See how the new shop (red) is twice the size of the old shop (blue)! Image copyright Ashish Bijwe, sourced here
The building was constructed about 1897 (!) and is heritage listed.
Image courtesy Auckland Libraries Heritage Collections, 5-2675.

Director Nick Katsoulis explained that

“The concept was classic design plus modern amenities. We retained the history of the building, exposing the original materials such as brick and patterned ceilings, blended with the modern St. Pierre’s character of black and light wood. The mixture of old and new shows St. Pierre’s history and values. We are modern and innovative but we also respect the past.”

Beautiful ceiling patterns and stained glass. The shop is living heritage
Shop Manager Nila and team ready to go!                         So much more space to work in now!
Nila showing off the design. Green tiles are also a feature of Cuba Street shop in Wellington, the original St. Pierre’s location!

Area manager Johnny was closely involved with the reopening, and he commented that

“This project was a real challenge. It was a complete revamp, and with COVID delays, took around six months, with so many fine details. We have a great team at Symonds Street and needed to keep them on board, and I’m really grateful they didn’t mind working at nearby shops like Customs Street and Newmarket for a while. Their flexibility and motivation helped the reopening go so smoothly, and the result is brilliant. Among many benefits, more space means we can hold more stock, ready when customers need it. The rebuild was definitely worth the effort.”

Johnny hard at work setting up!

Finally, Nila commented that

“The new shop is brilliant! Having more space means providing more choices for customers. Plus they feel less cramped and rushed. It’s much more relaxing, a genuine St. Pierre’s experience. From a staff perspective, we can work faster and with less pressure. And it feels great to be in such a unique environment. We have such an amazing customer base, many students of course, but also creatives, office workers, and even churchgoers at St. Paul’s on Sunday. There is no other shop like Symonds Street.”

Nila took a few minutes the day before opening to tell us more about the new shop – check out the video here!

The new shop has been buzzing from day one!
Plenty of space to think, choose, and wait for a custom order. No pressure, no rush, and everyone can get what they want from the full selection…
…compare that to the tiny old shop – the wall is to the left of this customer! That’s all, no more!

The shop was busy even before opening day, with customers popping in regularly to check when the big day was. On Thursday 31st, the shop buzzed with customers from mid-morning, with feedback universally positive! Words like “a big upgrade,” “spacious,” and “welcoming” filled the air, making all the hard work by many St. Pierre’s staff feel worthwhile.

All smiles on day one
Visit from world record holder DJ Sumirock before the revamp. Which VIPs will visit the new shop we wonder?!?

The Symonds Street shop is once again a genuine landmark in the university district. It’s like no other part of the St. Pierre’s Group – hope to see you there soon!

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