By Pauline Stewart
Some of you will know the name Stompers - the Iconic Stompers Originals and Stompers Beachies, a Kiwi jandal legend that was first released in New Zealand in 1983. Just about every beach place in New Zealand stocked them in their beach clothing shops. Stompers were a Kiwi staple, with their wide fit, dense durable upper and sole, designed and built Kiwi tough, Ideal for soft sand, hot days, and everyday use. After 35 successful years in the market, Stompers production stopped in late 2018 due to unforeseen circumstances, then Covid delayed its entry back into the market, until now.
Meet Terri and Shane Comber, the new owners of business Coast Culture Ltd, manufacturing and distributing footwear in Whitianga and they have started with Stompers. The Combers permanently moved to Whitianga in 2021, previously living between their Hamilton property and Whitianga from 2017. They are both active members in the community, with Terri volunteering at the Community Services Chin Wag group and Shane being involved with the Mercury Bay Football Club Committee in the Development Lead position. Shane also coached the successful Mercury Bay Junior High School mixed team in the Waikato Boys competition this past winter.
Their previous business was The Soccer Shop in Hamilton, something they started from their garage in 2001 and sold in 2017. “That was a wild ride, “ says Shane, taking us to work alongside, and producing merchandise for FIFA, New Zealand Football, and supplying some 750 Clubs/Schools along the way. We met so many interesting people and had awesome experiences.”
But now Shane and Terri are looking forward to a different life style and tackling their new venture in Whitianga. "We love everything about Whitianga, the lifestyle, the people and the culture. It really is Paradise,” says Terri.
“By chance, Terri saw the plant and business come up for sale online. The plant was just sitting in a shed in Pukekawa,”says Shane. “We were quick out of the blocks and made an offer even before seeing anything. It’s not like us at all; we are usually very cautious. It looked a fun product, something scalable. The business just seemed right and a good fit for Whitianga. We needed a factory space in Whitianga, and wouldn’t you know, one became available at that very moment when we really had run out of time to find one. It was meant to be; the stars aligned,”Grant smiles.
Terri adds, “The local businesses have done a great job getting us up and running, especially Rick from Mercury Bay Hiabs and Carl Gubb Electrical. The original owner of Stompers has spent a couple of weeks getting us familiar and confident in the processes, which has laid the ideal foundation.”
Looking forward, Terri and Shane look to expand their manufacturing operation, with a wider range of products across their Brands - Stompers and Coast Culture. Their two sons (in their 20’s) act as their consultants for new ranges, “We can see things rather differently. An important aspect of the future is introducing eco products with a firm focus on our carbon footprint, ensuring we recycle all we can and, where possible, use non-petroleum products for manufacture. The future is one that Terri and Shane are excited to grow into, “We have some fun things planned over the next year. We want to enjoy the Company and be an active part of the Community.”
If you are looking for something for Christmas, the first orders are heading out of the door, Stompers Originals and Stompers Beachies are available from these outlets on the Coromandel: Feet Street - Whitianga; Gumps Outdoors - Whangamata; Hunting Fishing - Thames; Whangapoua Store with more outlets to follow. You will see Terri and Shane walking along Buffalo Beach most days with their 2 dogs, Baxter (Schnoodle) and Cooper (Springer Spaniel), rain or shine. www.coastculture.co.nz