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A long and winding way

Nicole’s and Danny’s journey to Snapper Jacks

By Stan Stewart

Danny and Nicole were going to buy a tiny ‘steam bun’ shop in Auckland. Instead, they bought ‘Snapper Jacks’ in Whitianga.

For the first six months, Nicole hated the shop, the work, and the town. But, then she started to love it, the people and the community and this love grows. Nicole (Lijin) was brought to New Zealand from Guangzhou province in China by her parents in 2002 when she was 19. Her sister Lili accompanied her. Their parents went back to China after 20 days leaving the two girls to fend for themselves. Nicole says this wasn’t too bad as Asian parents are very controlling. As it happened, Nicole’s sister also went back to China after a year, but Nicole stayed.

For the first year Nicole studied Business at AUT. She did not enjoy the course and her father said, “Drop out. Find something you love and do that.” Good advice! Nicole is a self-confessed workaholic and worked many jobs in Auckland - sometimes three jobs at a time. She loves to work. Then she became a sales representative for the Japanese company, ‘Shiseido’ - a makeup and skin care company. This was a job she really loved, and makeup and skin care continue as one of her passions. As a Shiseido representative, she visited Mercury Bay and that is how she knew about Snapper Jacks. Danny, her husband is a chef, and, amongst other things, he was second in charge of the Dim Sum Department of ‘Huami Chinese Restaurant’ in Auckland’s Sky City. It was a simple matter for him to master the cooking involved at Snapper Jacks.

Nicole has several commitments which are immediately obvious. Number one is she greets every customer with a smile. This smile is not phoney. “It is from the bottom of my heart. We owe it to our customers whoever they are.” When her son Marc comes back to Whitianga from school in Auckland, he becomes part of the team. “He is our best worker,” says Nicole. At times Marc tells her she pays too much attention to appearance when working in a fish and chip shop.

“I think you should always look your best,” she replies. For Nicole and Danny it is all part of the friendly service.

Snapper Jack - 07 866 5482

Corner of Albert and Monk Streets, Whitianga

About Snapper Jacks

The business goes back a long way. Andy Moyes sold the business to Jack and Mary Mclardy in1975/1976. A good friend of theirs, Jack Seymour bought the business with them. Mary says, “Part of the chattels of the sale was an enormous cat named ‘Bulge’. He was everybody’s favourite, and very huge. We named the business Viking Fisheries.” Subsequent owner was Nigel Horn. Nigel named the business Snapper Jacks - (we think he used the name ‘Jack’ because of Jack Mclardy). The next owner was Chris Pickett. “He really built the business up and sold the business after three years. He was worn out,” said Mary. “For some years Snapper Jack’s was the only Fish and Chip shop in Whitianga. The next to start up was Flippers up the other end of town.

Caption: Snapper Jacks is a landmark in Whitianga township.


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