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A changing 4 Square - recent owners and a wave of freshness

Check out the beach end of Albert Street

a changing 4 Square - recent owners and a wave of freshness.

By Pauline Stewart

Jake and Sarah Coleman are the owners of Buffalo Beach 4 Square.

The store looks bright and light. There are new new cabinets recently installed, the chilled produce section has expanded, and the frozen food storage area has doubled. New storage and display outside the store makes the footpath look more open and there’s space to sit down.

There is a continuous line of customers; people are relaxed, and they don’t wait very long at all. They are zipped through but not hurried. There’s a quiet intensity about things and it has to do with Jake. He is wanting every customer to have a good experience and that priority doesn’t leave him for a second. He is talking to The Informer but checking with regular glances and a smile, that everyone has that welcoming and no-fuss shopping time. It is reassuring actually that this 4 Square by the beach is in such good hands.

Jake reflects,” Everybody has a story to tell; it helps sometimes, when you are having a rough day, you never know what is going on for that customer; you have to smile and carry on.” Jake and Sarah have their story to tell. “I don’t have a grocery background,” says Jake. I have spent ten years in the NZ Police Force and then five years as a serious fraud investigator. We were looking for a serious change. Coming to Whitianga was a big change. There are elements of this job that feel like a holiday - the staff - our team, the customers; spending time at the beach; access to all the outdoors; but there are many strands to keep focussed on for the store and there is never a time when the job is finished. In fact, that’s the way I like it, as then produce is moving all the time. Jake pauses and smiles, “It’s chaos but in a nice way, “says Jake.

“We are lucky to be part of the Foodstuffs Co-operative as they provide the service and the advice and the experience. Sarah and I and the family have been here a year and we could not have done this without Foodstuffs intentional practical help and support.”

There are promises that Jake and Sarah live and work by here - they are 4 Square promises.

1. Everyday essentials always available - all day any time of the day.

“This is critical,” says Jake. A lot of work has been done by Sarah and Jake on their range – lunch, dinner, barbeque down at the beach, working together to predict what people might need. “Our prices are competitive. ‘Adds Jake confidently.

2. Fresh Favs (favourites) Our promise is to make sure we have a really strong fresh offering. We stand by our produce. We say to our customers if they are not happy, we replace it and give a full refund.”

3. Local service - we have come full circle.

We look for local produce ad Foodstuffs helps with that through their supply chain, and we choose to be a local store – that is meet local needs. Our team is here for the people and we mean that. They need to get what they need from our team and as well as food items and groceries, that means a smile, a laughter, a genuine greeting.

4. Sense of community – “That’s what we are building and working to maintain,” says Jake.

How do we do that through a store? It’s not hard - we need to just consistently care about and notice what people need and enjoy and can afford. When I know a customer’s name it gives me pleasure to say it and the I hear others doing the same. It made leaving my home of Papakura for forty years, so much easier – being wired into the community. The community has taken good care of us – Sarah, and our three children - eleven, nine and five years.

Jake says ‘I don’t switch off – I’m too passionate. We are on our way to achieving what we are aiming for.” It’s time to get back to work and Jake points out a wonderful feature; “Try the real fruit ice-cream. People can come off the footpath to our new separate counter and order their favourite flavour and size of real fruit ice cream.”

Jake Coleman, owner and operator of 4 Square Whitianga, with two of his staff - Ian Stewart and Leone Lovelock-Rolls.

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