Where’s the best supermarket in NZ’s North Island?

Regular visitors here will know that I’m a big supporter of local. Buying local, eating local, sourcing local; basically supporting the guys who work hard to make their product the best they can. And something many people don’t know is that our Pak’nSave stores aren’t owned by some anonymous corporates – they are curated by locals.

Last night, Foodstuffs North Island celebrated the best of the best at the annual Co-Op awards, and I am so very happy to say that the top spot was taken by my own local – the Pak’nSave in Albany on the North Shore.

Huge congratulations to Paul and Liz Blackwell, owners of this terrific local store, and also to every other winner on this list.

At the awards event, Chris Quin, CEO of Foodstuffs North Island, said, “It’s humbling to get up on stage and applaud the incredible work that our people put in each day to deliver what our customers need.  While we are the market-leader in the supermarket business, we can’t rest on our laurels.  Every single one of our owner-operators goes all out to do the right thing by their customers – but some are exceptional.  These awards recognise the extra effort they put into running 100% New Zealand owned and operated businesses who really get what this country is all about.”

The Awards recognise the best in Produce, Butchery, Bakery, Seafood and Service Deli.  They also look at Safety & Wellbeing, Sustainability and Supplier Relationships. “All stores work all day on these areas – it’s just that some go that extra mile to ensure the avocados are glistening, the focaccia is piping hot, the salmon is fresh and the team is healthy, safe and supported.”

One of the most highly prized awards is the Co-operative Spirit Award, which was awarded to Leo and Kieran O’Sullivan.  “The beauty of the Co-op is that no owner or their team goes it alone.  Leo and Kieran are legends in our business for putting the Co-op first and this shines through in events like the aftermath of the 2016 November quakes, when they offered unstinting support to Steve and Sarah Williams at New World Hutt City,” says Quin.

At the end of the night the award for best store was given to Paul and Liz Blackwell, PAK’nSAVE Albany.  This amazing couple has set the bar high for 20 extraordinary years.  They not only enjoy undying loyalty from their customers and team, they also give so much to the Co-op as mentors and to the community.