CAPTION: Melanie Garrett of Masterton, with her children Emma, 10, and Liam, 13, with their cousins Dakota, 10, and Sapphire, 8. The family was grateful some supermarkets were open yesterday. PHOTO/BECKIE WILSON

By Beckie Wilson

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The owner of a Masterton supermarket says he will definitely open again next Easter Sunday after a surprisingly busy day saw shoppers making the most of a recent trading law change.

Retailers in all three Wairarapa districts were given the greenlight to open on Easter Sunday by their respective councils earlier this year.

And while many chose not to – largely for family or staffing reasons – others did, including Masterton’s Pak’n Save and Countdown supermarkets.

Pak’n Save owner Paul de Lara-Bell said that the store was surprisingly busy, and he would open again next Easter.

“A lot of people were around and were really grateful we were open.”

He said the store was quiet on opening at 7am, but by about 7.30am there were a lot of people in the store.

“We only had a couple of tills open then and we even had a couple of queues.”

People were out buying necessities such as nappies, milk and bread, he said.

“I’d definitely do it again.

“I think it’s really good that we are there to support all the visitors coming to town [over the Easter break].”

Lucy Richards was shopping at Pak’n Save yesterday after having moved from Pahiatua to Masterton this week.

She had not had time to do a supermarket shop until yesterday.

“This was the first time for me to go shopping and to be able to stock up,” she said.

“I would have been really stuck without food [if I] wasn’t able to come yesterday.”

Masterton’s Melanie Garrett was thankful Countdown was open yesterday afternoon.

“I was really slack, I have visitors coming and I didn’t plan ahead,” she said.

“It was handy to be open – I didn’t know it was going to be open until I looked online.”

Masterton, Carterton and South Wairarapa district councils all voted in favour of allowing Easter Sunday trading after a series of meetings late last year and early this year.

Public submissions in the districts varied, with Masterton’s largely against, South Wairarapa’s largely in favour, and Carterton receiving hardly any.

Despite the law change, some large retailers such as Mitre 10 Mega, Farmers, The Warehouse, Paper Plus, and some supermarkets, remained closed yesterday.

Retail NZ’s general manager for public affairs Greg Harford said the great thing about the law was local councils giving choices to businesses, employees and shoppers.

He expected many shops to have remained closed yesterday.

The decision of the shopkeeper would take into account employees and customer demand, he said.