Building an emporium of wonder

Greytown’s old Borough Council Chambers have witnessed a lot over the last 126 years. There was a 1905 fracas between a councillor and the Mayor that saw projectiles hurled and the Police summoned. There’ve been libraries and law offices, and even a proposal to house a business of ill repute. At about 1.30am on Friday 16 November an exciting new chapter was finished. Our new retail headquarters are much more than we hoped for. Welcome to our emporium of wonder!

We’ve been a bit busy lately.

Back in April, we discovered we couldn’t renew the lease on our old shop at 101 Main Street. That set in motion a whirlwind of exploring and planning that eventually took us, well, 20 metres across the road.

While the physical move may have been short, we’ve advanced light years in terms of the space, sophistication and sensual magnificence we’ve been able to bring to the business.

When we first set foot in the old Chambers building, we immediately saw the possibilities. With the help of local architect James Mackie’s vision and experience, we were able to conceive a glorious open retail space that exploited all of the charm, atmosphere and idiosyncrasies of this Victorian masterpiece and Greytown landmark. It was a no-brainer.

Essential seismic strengthening was the first step, which entailed the installation of massive steel beams throughout the opened-up downstairs space. Blackwell and Sons is now the safest place in Greytown during a major earthquake!

James, Shane, Colin, Millie and I then brought our collective creativity to the table to design a retail experience that would be unique, utterly unforgettable and dazzle the senses, while honouring the proud heritage of the building. Inevitably, there were a million things to consider and, as the politicians call it, much “robust debate”.

We created a vision that we were all excited about, then Joe and the team from Holmes Construction set to work making it a reality.

There were hiccups. The biggest came late in the project when a sample of the building’s old matai floor tested positive for asbestos. That set a phalanx of Government officials into a frenzy, but despite their best efforts all subsequent testing came back negative. It was a false alarm that cost us two weeks and, just quietly, quite a lot of money.

No matter. Thanks to a Herculean effort by the team we’re here. And the end result is everything we hoped for, and more. Our new emporium is beautifully crafted to showcase our Pashley bicycles and amazing new range of accessories, picnicware, apparel and outdoor items. The cabinetry is fabulous. The lighting incredible. It even smells good, which Shane claims most of the credit for.

We’ve had fun over the last few days decorating the store for Christmas and welcoming hoards of fascinated and enthralled customers. We’re the talk of the town, and our intention is to stay that way.

Come in and be amazed!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.