Sally McQuade has taken over the Masterton Bin Inn. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE
After 15 years, there is a new face behind the measuring counter at Masterton Bin Inn.
For Sally McQuade who took over the business last month during the Level 4 lockdown, the plast few weeks have been a steep learning curve.
Demand for products like flour and baking soda, which could not be found in the overrun supermarkets, skyrocketed during the lockdown, she said.
“The supermarkets have been rushed off their feet.”
Despite new customers and new guidelines, most visitors to the store had behaved well during lockdown.
“Under Level 3 people couldn’t bring their own jars in, but now they can.”
A former baker, McQuade said she’d always wanted to own her own business, and this allowed her to pursue her interests.
“I love baking; I like to reuse things. I can combine both of those interests here.”
She said she was very interested in sustainable packaging and reducing plastic waste.
Buying pantry staples in bulk, customers can bring their own jars and containers to fill, even gaining a five per cent discount for doing so.
“I used to go to Bin Inn when my kids were little, and we lived in Invercargill,” she said.
“I just liked the concept. You can get as much or as little as you need.”
She said her customer base was a “real mix” of people, with buyers varying from people wanting to do away with plastic, those looking for cheaper purchases and others wanting only specific amounts to save on storage space.
The lockdown had also prompted more people to “think and buy local”, she said.
She said the previous owner, Jim Smith, built up the business from nothing but had been looking for a change of scenery.
He was well known for his knowledge of home brewing.
“There’s a lot of customers who will miss him.”
There are subtle changes in the store, with an even wider range of products including more which cater to vegan and gluten free diets.