Supermarket-free Hamilton suburb getting new independent grocery after eight months without

A supermarket-free Hamilton suburb is getting a new grocery store after Countdown closed its doors last year.

FI-FO will open in Nawton, one of the city’s most deprived suburbs, next Saturday.

The new store is believed to be one of the country’s biggest independent supermarkets.

Co-owner Manish Thakkar, a former dairy owner, has invested millions in the project.

He said as well as there being no other supermarkets in Nawton, about 30 percent of residents did not have their own vehicle to drive further afield. The nearest grocery store was in Dinsdale, about 3.5km away.

He wanted to “support the local community to provide their daily needs”, he said.

Countdown closed its Nawton store in August because of growing retail crime and building issues.

Asked if he was also concerned about crime rates, Thakkar said he was.

“I’m worried about crime as well, but 98 percent of people are good. They need their basic requirements for day-to-day life.”

FI-FO was in the same building as the old Countdown, but there were no longer any issues there and the building had passed its warrant of fitness, Thakkar said.

He had employed between 35 and 40 people to work at the supermarket and was hoping to hire more in future.

Woolworths and a range of independent suppliers were supplying the new supermarket.

Thakkar said he hoped FI-FO succeeded so he could help the community.

“When I came to New Zealand I had nothing in my pocket,” he said.

“Whatever I have achieved so far is from the community. When we get something, we have to pay it back.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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