As an only child growing up in Auckland, Mark Troup-Paul would flit between dream jobs on an almost weekly basis. Policeman, lawyer, doctor, farmer and sportsman were all options considered – but curiously enough, owner/operator of Ideal Four Square Kaiti, Gisborne, was never an option. He did, however, know that he wanted to own his own business, and studied marketing and management at Waikato University in order to reach that goal.

“I had looked at a number of opportunities before discovering the Owner Operator journey with Foodstuffs. After working ten years in the FMCG industry and spending time working in a few stores and talking to other owners, I knew it was for me,” Troup-Paul told SupermarketNews. “The fast pace of the industry, the role of supermarkets within the community, breadth of the role as an owner, opportunities within Foodstuffs and the people involved all add up to make it an exciting career.” Troup-Paul took over the Kaiti Four Square in November 2016, having previously worked for Frucor, Treasury Wine Estates, Independent Liquor and Coke. “FMCG is all I know!” he quips.

Of course, being Owner Operator comes with its challenges. They’ve faced problems such as power-cuts, building works, IT issues and shoplifting, which is testing Troup-Paul’s problem-solving skills. “Trying to fit everything into the limited hours is the current challenge!” he said. “We are really busy at the moment trying to improve the store quickly, so every day throws up a new obstacle to work through.” The most important part is staying focused as a team, something on which Troup-Paul prides himself. “I tell them what I think we can achieve and then empower them with as much responsibility and support as possible! My store manager told me recently that this is the first time in his career that he has felt comfortable and enjoyed coming to work every day, which was pretty cool.”

When he’s not working on his store, Troup-Paul enjoys surfing and fishing. “I try to fit in as much as possible when I’m not at the store or spending time with family.”