Papamoa new shop opening!

Welcome back! Last Thursday 31st March, St. Pierre’s did something we’ve never done before – opened two shops on the same day! One was reopening Symonds Street, and the other was the brand-new Papamoa shop. Read on to find out more!

Partner managers Seak and Tee excited about opening day!
Area manager Lili removing the window coverings. Almost opening time!

Papamoa is on the sunny Bay of Plenty coast, east of downtown Tauranga. It’s a popular area both for summer holidays and to live, so we were keen to be involved. Our new shop is centrally located, just by the community centre, local doctors, supermarket and other busy destinations.

All ready to go!

The shop design puts a new spin on our current design language to suit the area and site layout, with bright geometric wall patterns and oversized lightshades providing colour. The chunky furniture against black walls is another highlight, all together making the shop bright yet cosy, relaxing and inviting to everyone, especially families with kids.

The shop and staff ready to go!
Partner Manager Tee greeting first-time customers. Papamoa shop has been buzzing from day one!

Fly through of the shop – plenty of fresh food waiting for hungry customers!

Partner Managers Seak and Tee were overjoyed on opening, saying that

“We’ve both been with the company for some years, but this is a massive step up. Opening a new shop – rather than joining an existing one – has been such a challenge. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the head office staff, especially area manager Lili, our new Papamoa team, and nearby partners such as Ivy, Joanne and Yohanes. In particular, Ivy and Joanne put a lot of time into training our new staff before opening.

So many details go into great customer experience, but we’re all committed to delivering great products and service from day one. Our aim is to create a fun workplace which brings smiles to staff and customers, a shop that we and the whole company are proud of. Finally, we’re moving here as a family, so we’re excited to learn more about the community and how we can contribute to it.” 

Welcoming our first curious customers!
The hat display is a tradition of St. Pierre’s shop openings

Lili commented that

“Seak and Tee have run their own café as well as managed different departments at St. Pierre’s, so they definitely are experienced. However, running a sushi department in a new city will be a big challenge! As well as building a high-performing team, partners also have to develop links with their community to build the business. This is a critical part of our 7 Steps to Partnership pathway. Tee and Seak will need to spend a lot of time getting to know schools and community groups, working on promotional channels, etc., while still maintaining the company‘s reputation and delivering customer satisfaction.

Finally, I hope they can inspire and develop their team members to grow in their career at St. Pierre’s. It’s a big job, but I’m here to support them, and they’ve made a great start! I wish them all the best with their new city and lifestyle.”

Speaking of support, Rotorua partner Yohanes came to help out!

Tee sorting the recycling. Successful shop partners are hands-on all the time!

Finally, Director Perry Katsoulis commented

“Congratulations to our new trial partners Tee and Seak! They are full of energy, passion and enthusiasm, and I know they are ready to become St. Pierre’s Partners! I and the other directors wish you the very best of luck in your future in Papamoa. I imagine that moving your children from Auckland and starting a new life and a business is a huge step to take, but the St. Pierre’s family is here to help. Yohanes came from Rotorua and Ivy and Joanne from Tauranga for opening day, and we’ll always be here for you.

Papamoa is an important shop for us, as it’s a popular lifestyle choice and a growing market. Who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful Bay of Plenty beach resort? I hope that Tee & Seak love the lifestyle here too.”

Director Perry firing up the crowd
Perry describing what makes our sushi so good!
Perry, Seak and Tee, and Director Nick all smiles for a successful opening!

The new shop was busy on opening day and has been even more so in the days that followed. Customers who themselves relocated to Papamoa were happy to see their favourite sushi available locally, and many locals were keen to see what the fuss was about. Feedback was positive, with words like “delicious,” “I see why it’s so popular!,” “kid friendly,” and “welcoming” repeated over and over. It’s so far so good in Papamoa, making all the hard work by many staff worthwhile.

We believe that the Papamoa shop will soon be a landmark in this relaxed beachside area, and by opening on the same day as Symonds Street, it’s a special milestone for the company as well. If you’re visiting Papamoa or just passing through, do stop by and see Seak and Tee – see you there soon!


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!