A long-awaited Countdown store opened its doors this week in central Wellington, heating up the competition with the (so far) only supermarket in the area, a New World Metro store that had been operating unabated for 14 years.

“The CBD has experienced a growth in population of 14 percent in the last five years to 2015,” said Wellington mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, who attended the opening. “We definitely need this new Countdown store in our busy smart capital.”

The new $6.4-million Cable Car supermarket is peculiar on at least two counts. First, thanks to its new transcritical refrigeration system that uses only naturally existing carbon dioxide, the outlet marks the first step in Countdown’s next generation of sustainable stores. Second, it is only the company’s second store without a car park, and the only one with its loading dock seven or eight storeys up on the Terrace.

The supermarket was expected to open before last Christmas, but had a troubled path to completion when, due to design issues, the opening was eventually delayed. To top it all, the store has even had its alcohol licence opposed, on the grounds that it might encourage nearby students to drink.
“The whole team, including our 88 new team members, have worked really hard to get the store ready,” said Paul Berney, store manager. “It may be small in size, but we’ve designed an offer that city centre customers will love. With a full service deli and a range of ready meal option, Countdown Cable Car Lane will be a hit with our on-the-go customers.”

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