Sanjay Sharma has finally achieved his dream of buying the Raglan SuperValue, says outgoing owner, Richard Jacobsen.
The Te Kuiti-based SuperValue owner would officially take over the Raglan supermarket on December 15. His wife, Rajni, planned to run the Te Kuiti store until it was sold, then join her husband at the Raglan store, Richard said.
Sanjay, who was originally from Whakatane, had been trying to buy the supermarket for 13 years, ever since doing some training here under previous owner Wayne Petchell when it was still a Four Square.
He had failed to buy the Raglan Four Square from the Petchells, when Richard had bought it 11 years ago, and “had regretted it ever since”. Sanjay bought the Te Kuiti SuperValue instead but had always asked to have first option on the Raglan store if Richard ever sold up.
“So it makes you happy to sell your store to someone like that,” Richard said.
“He’s a good operator and a really nice guy. I think he’ll fit in really well here.”
Raglan SuperValue staff, who number about 40, would all be retained by Sanjay on existing contracts, he added.
Richard, who still owned the FreshChoice Leamington supermarket in Cambridge, planned to semi-retire so he could spend more time with his Kaipaki-based family and get back into coaching children’s cricket and rugby: “I’d rather be doing that, any day.”
He said he had put a lot of hard work into the Raglan supermarket, especially in the first five years he had owned it, and had seen a lot of growth in the store as a consequence.
“You don’t get that without the support of the community,” Richard acknowledged.
It had become the largest Four Square in the Foodstuffs’ chain, before it had changed to one of Progressive’s SuperValue supermarkets.
There had been a lot of changes over his 11 years, such as adding a butcher, the Post Shop and Lotto, extra refridgeration, extra produce and product lines and extending the premises.
But one of his greatest achievements in Raglan had been his investment into the education of former store manager Richard Roberts, who now worked at Foodstuffs headquarters advising Four Square stores around the country.
“One of the things I guess I’m going to miss is walking down the street [in Raglan] and everyone saying ‘gidday’,” Richard said.
Sanjay Sharma could not be reached for comment.