Home owner at 19, business owner at 25

Emily Ireland

William Keedwell has achieved quite a few big milestones in his 25 years.

He bought a house at 19, bought another at 24, and just last month, bought a pizza shop in Masterton.

William, a former staff member of Hell Pizza, is still getting his head around the fact that he now owns the joint and is the boss of eight staff.

He puts his success down to hard work, a little bit of luck, and “taking opportunities that come your way”.

“I’ve been working since I was 11,” William said – his first job was at Chopsticks, a fish and chips shop in Carterton.

When he was 18, he started working for Hell Pizza and, within the three years he was there, had worked his way up to a manager role.

“That was as far as I could go, so I left at the start of 2014 to go and work for Chorus.”

He did an apprenticeship with them, working minimum wage, but was made redundant the week he graduated from his apprenticeship.

“So then I came back here [to Hell Pizza].

Before long, he was putting a plan together to buy it.

When asked whether he ever thought he would be the owner of a business at 25, William said his parents had an inkling from a young age that he would go far in business.

“When I was working at the fish and chips shop, they would say, oh you’ll own this one day.

“Or when I was working at Hells, they said, oh you’ll own this one day.

“I guess that day has come sooner rather than later.”

He officially bought the franchise on July 11.

“I’ve always had the drive to have a career and have money behind me,” William said.

“Buying a house at 19 and making money off that and buying another house at 24 . . . all that stuff puts equity behind me so I can buy a place like this.”

He said after the purchase he had been working 10am until 10pm each day to get his head around all the paperwork, administration, and the day-to-day workings of the business.

“I haven’t had a day off or lunch break in the past 30 days – I work every day, 10am until 10pm.

“But that should settle down in a couple of months . . . there were no shocks or surprises or anything like that.”

He said he was “really proud” of the staff – “they all want to work really hard to be the best they can be”.

William jokingly said he was “annoyed” because even at the age of 25, he was still not the youngest owner of a Hell Pizza franchise – “they have a young owner down in Christchurch”.

“But I do think, well if I have done all this by the age of 25, what is going to happen by the time I’m 30?”

William said he was looking forward to offering a great service to Wairarapa people and encouraged people to come in to say hello.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said success stories like William’s were “fantastic” for Masterton, “and especially for our young people growing up and living here”.

“We do often hear of young people moving away from the regions to the larger towns or cities to go to university or for a different lifestyle.

“Some of that trend is changing with people staying here and thriving in what is currently a booming economy, but others are also making an active decision to move to Masterton – it’s a great place to raise a family with great schools and sport facilities.”

“I’m sure William is going to do very well.”