By Don Farmer

don.farmer@age.co.nz

Trust House has sold its Super Value supermarket and the associated businesses that make up Featherston Gateway, to Greytown business couple Chris and Lindsey Ward.

The sale, worth around $4.2m, became unconditional on Friday, with the new owners, who already own Fresh Choice, Greytown, taking over the cluster of businesses on March 27.

Confirming the sale, Trust House chief executive Allan Pollard said the trust would be directing its resources and skill to its core business, being social housing, pubs with “multi revenue streams”, and hotels.

He said there had been other potential buyers who had wanted to pick up the Featherston Gateway businesses but the trust was delighted to seal a deal with Mr and Mrs Ward.

“We know how good they are at what they do and they are local, which was a very important factor for us” Mr Pollard said.

He said the trust would file its annual report – “probably in May” – and will be able to report a very successful year.

Mr Pollard said when selling assets the trick was “to pick your moment”.

Mr Ward said he and his wife had formed a company to buy Featherston Gateway which consists of Super Value Supermarket, a bottle store, a New Zealand Post and Kiwibank outlet, a Lotto Shop and a bakery and café.

The purchase means they have taken over the complex lock, stock and barrel as they have bought the land and buildings along with all stock in the shops.

In Greytown they set up Fresh Choice Supermarket, which opened in July, 2012, owning the business and the fit-out, but not the building.

In addition, Mrs Ward is the owner of the Mike Pero Real Estate business for the South Wairarapa.

Mr Ward said negotiations with the trust had worked well throughout the process, and all staff who wanted to remain employed at the Featherston complex had the opportunity to do so.

New employment contracts would be prepared for presenting to staff next week, he said.

“We are thrilled to be able to take over the reins at Featherston Gateway and are determined to do a great job, as Trust House has done,” he said.

Asked if any changes in how the complex would work were planned, Mr Ward said it was too soon to think about that, and in any event running a supermarket was “like trying to steer a bus on ice”.

You had to be ready to make subtle adjustments as you went along.