New Tamahere store proves popular


A corner store-cum-delicatessen, The Country Providore, has finished its first week of trading on Tamahere’s Newell Rd.

The store, which also stocks homeware and gifts alongside fresh fruit and vegetables, gourmet meats and cheese as well as a range of meal treats and essentials, is the brainchild of The Strawberry Farm’s Pam and Gary McMahon.

On the same site as The Strawberry Farm, the couple also brought Tamahere the popular Punnet Cafe whose next door neighbour is now the stylish Country Providore managed by daughter Emma McMahon.

“We want the Providore to be a convenience store for Tamahere locals as well as a destination point for Waikato and Hamilton people,” said Emma. “The store compliments Punnet Cafe and the cafe compliments the store. People popping in for coffee can browse here for food to take home and for gifts.”

In summer the farm is a popular destination for strawberry ice creams as well as fresh strawberries and Emma said the family has long been urged to stay open year-round. The Providore is the response to that demand.

“The back half of the shop is the original strawberry packing shed. The original Strawberry Farm sign is on the wall and it’s great to keep that connection,” Emma said. “In summer strawberry ice creams will be our biggest sellers again.”

Another goal of the Providore is to teach people where their food comes from. Look up from the vacuum-pack of razorback pork in the chiller and you see a razorback boar looking back down at you from its wall mounting. Stuffed rabbits, deer and birds also line the top shelves.

The undoubted charm of the store’s displays was created by designer Fiona Hugues who also runs a gourmet food market in Auckland.

“I use a lot of heritage reference in my designs. I think this culture is getting lost and this project was the perfect place to revive the old-fashioned way of homemaking, gathering, eating and storing what’s in season,” Hugues said.

Pretty much everything in the store is for sale whether edible or not. Pam and Emma have sourced vintage kitchenware and the like from all over New Zealand to sell. If you like the rustic table your favourite dinner ingredients are displayed on you can take it home, too. It will be one way, said Emma, that the store will evolve and change with the seasons.

Gary emphasised that the fresh produce would also change over the year, reflecting what will be available seasonally. And he invited locals, including children wanting to raise some pocket money, to contact him if they have fruit or vegetable surpluses. They could be sold in the Providore, he said.

The Country Providore is open seven days, from 8.30am to 6pm weekdays and 8.30am to 5pm at weekends. It is at 337 Newell Rd, alongside Punnet Cafe.

Emma said the store’s first week of trading had gone well, customers had come from across Hamilton and the Waikato and feedback had been good.

“How could you not buy something here?” one happy customer told Tamahere Forum as she left the store with a laden basket.

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