Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

01 May 2010

Open 7 Days 32. Hampden Super Store

 I wrote and illustrated ‘Open 7 Days’. It was published in 1991. It’s a series of freeze-frames of some historic New Zealand general and convenience stores as they were preserved in the last decade of the 20th century. Bit by bit, on this blog, I re-publish some of the entries from that book.

Liverpool Street, Hampden, Otago.
Proprietor: Joy Long
The Hampden Super Store occupies a charming spot in a village that, although it straddles State Highway One, still manages to tranquilise the senses. The trees, grand and mature, are very English, and that’s as it should be, for Hampden takes its name from a wealthy Buckinghamshire landowner and lover of fair play who took arms against Charles I and died for his ideals on Chalgrove Field, near Oxford, in 1643.

It’s been a general store since 1890, and at the rear there are the remains of an old bakehouse. The business has been in the Long family since 1975. Joy and her husband, Steve, took it over from her parents. Since Steve died, Joy has run it with the aid of her children, Mark and Vicki. They all enjoy serving and chatting to the customers, who comprise residents and the seasonal holidaymakers who come to this restful seaside village.

Joy says the shop is, ‘a meeting place where people may catch up on local news … a general store with most things available that you could get in town. We still run monthly accounts, as it’s a farming and fishing area … they always pay’.

The welcomed appointment of Hampden Super Store as an agency of NZ Post followed the complete restructuring of postal services in 1988. When I visited, the appointment was so recent that its impact could still be seen on the ‘A1′ sign under the tiger!

The local Lions Club’s money-raising roadside stall.

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By Don Donovan