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Supermarket opens again

South Masterton residents are stoked they no longer need to trek across town to stock up on grocery supplies, as the Solway Supermarket is open again.

The site, which has been closed for 11 months for renovation work that included redesigning and expanding the space, reopened yesterday.

While the work took longer than anticipated, co-owner and operator Vijay Patel said he and his team are happy to have the shelves stocked and doors open again.

“There’s too many people involved, it wasn’t anyone’s fault that it got pushed out due to material shortages and other delays,” Patel said.

“We’re just happy to be open now.”

With additional new chiller cabinets and a bigger, more organised space than before, “Basically, the whole building is new,” Patel said.

The supermarket used to operate as part of the Four Square franchise prior to Patel and his wife [and store co-owner] Ishita Patel buying the business four years ago.

When the couple took over, they rebranded as an independent supermarket, something Patel said involves a lot of work.

“With a franchise, it’s all in one bundle, so you don’t have to go here and there to get things separately,” Patel said.

“Here you have to find your suppliers and work with them separately.”

Yesterday’s reopening was relatively quiet, but Patel said he believes things will pick up once new signage arrives and is installed outside, letting passersby know the supermarket is back in business.

In the meantime, social media regarding the reopening has attracted supportive, celebratory comments.

Among the happy local residents is Libby Hughes, who popped in for some morning shopping.

Hughes observed there were more products than had “ever been stocked before” and said it’s good to have a supermarket back in the Solway area.

“It can be a mission to go to the other ends of town when it’s busy,” Hughes said.

“Nice to save on petrol, too. I’ll definitely be coming here a lot.”

Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary
Bella Cleary is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age, originally hailing from Wellington. She is interested in social issues and writes about the local arts and culture scene.

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