Good things come in small packages

Good things come in small packages

By Myra Cohen

Total Property - Issue 3 2016

Bigger is not always best when it comes to retail. In New Zealand, innovative business owners are opting for functional premises which give them a novel edge.

Total Property looks at some of the best:

Ruapuke Artisan Bread store - a 2.8sqm bakery: Located in Raglan’s main street this business has made a name for its size, along with its sourdough, spelt, and gluten-free products. Baker Jenny Carter makes bread offsite but sells it from this footpath cubbyhole. “I had been selling from a footpath table when I saw this boarded up doorway next to Trade Aid,” explains Jenny. She fitted the store out 'Raglan style' using materials at hand and created a lift-up counter entry. It has a power point for the electronic payment machine and accesses water from the Trade Aid shop. “It's a rare day it's not photographed,” says Jenny. “I tell customers, I'm going to be a supermarket when I grow up.”

Lalele Gelato - a 4sqm gelato shop: Nathan Gutsell and Mulan Zhang searched high and low for an Auckland CBD site for their organic gelato, sorbet and popsicle business. “Rents are prohibitive so we had to be creative,” says Gutsell. The one-scoop-sized ‘hole-in-the-wall’ outlet at 350 Queen St now trades proudly with all the necessary bells and whistles of power, water, phone and internet.

Coffix – a 9sqm café: Low overheads come with a pint-sized space in Auckland’s Newmarket that allow owners Anna and Gareth Wilson to maximise returns on their $2.50 flat rate for all selections of takeaway coffee. “There’s no room for tables and chairs in our wee store but there’s a recycled wooden bench outside and we’re growing plants to create a visually pleasing space,” says Anna.

Gentlemen’s Beans – This 13sqm micro-roastery and coffee bar on the corner of Courtenay Place and Taranaki St in Wellington, occupies part of an historic building that was formerly a men’s public toilets. Manager Belinda Beckett, says the boutique business benefits from high foot traffic and is handy for city workers. “Coffee is roasted onsite with a large window showcasing the roaster while an efficient extraction unit sends wonderful coffee aromas into the immediate area.” The premise has water, gas and electricity, and shares bathroom facilities with adjacent Tommy Millions Pizza.

Little Thunder café – a 15sqm Micro co-working and coffee space on Wellington’s Manners Street created by graphic designer and artist Lance Ravenswood. It’s over two levels but its street frontage is tiny. “I’d been experimenting with the design of studio bedrooms, creating mezzanines and hidden storage space, so I grabbed the space when it became vacant,” Ravenswood says. It offers coffee, cold drinks, snacks, a couch to relax on, a bar for chatting and a "hot desk" to work on.

Mouvery – a 15sqm bar with live music in George Street, Dunedin which Lonely Planet says is one of the world's smallest bars. It caters for Dunedin's caffeine fix during the day and morphs into an intimate live music venue at night. It’s well-spec’d with water, power, gas, bathroom and a private garden area.

Fix and Fogg’s – This 39sqm peanut butter producer, is an NZ Food Award finalist located on Eva St in the basement of a former Wellington CBD shoe shop. Its commercial kitchen, dispatch and retail outlet have a retail window onto the laneway. Owner Roman Jewell says it's a quaint base for the successful business and encompasses the entire production, dispatch, staff room, storage area and retail space.

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