Justin Vaudrey began his journey with Foodstuffs in 1989 after he accepted a part-time role with City Centre New World in Dunedin. “Over the coming years I gained experience in several positions and moved up through the business to the role of store manager,” Justin Vaudrey told Supermarket News.

“His wife Claire is a qualified primary school teacher, and in 2010, together with their three children, the family made the move to Westport to purchase their first New World store. “This was a fantastic experience, and we learned a lot about running a supermarket in a small isolated town. Being part of a tight-knit community was a lot of fun.”

In 2014 the Vaudreys had the opportunity to join the Christchurch rebuild and purchase South City New World. Two years later, the couple learned that Foodstuffs South Island intended to build a new flagship store on the corner of Moorhouse Ave and Durham Street. “We were even more excited when we were given the green light to run the store and take our team on an amazing journey.”

Over the last two and a half years, Justin and Claire Vaudrey have been working hard to create a new innovative store – something not yet seen in New Zealand. “Our Vision for the store was to create something that was ‘next level’ from the building to the fitout to the new innovations and the customer experience.”

Highlights of the store include; fresh nut butter mills, an ecostore refill station, hot meals from the deli, dry aged beef, an extensive craft beer range, a pineapple machine, naked produce (Food in the Nude), an overhaul of the bulk foods area, a 65-seat café, shop and go, electronic shelf labels and electronic signage. “We worked very closely with the Foodstuffs South Island category team to guarantee our relays in grocery are tuned to ensure efficiencies are gained through only touching each product once from truck to shelf,” explained Vaudrey.

“Food to go has been a huge focus for us. We have assisted in the development of several initiatives such as the dinner bag, and hot food options fresh from the service deli for breakfast, lunch and tea. We have brought all of our fresh food departments together in one area to make getting all fresh ingredients quick and easy, and installed a chilled displayed unit where everything you need is in one place including the recipe.”

Sustainability was another focus for the team. The New World store is the first supermarket in the country to have an ecostore refillery that gives consumers, who are looking to reduce the amount of waste or packaging in their lives, the option to use the same ecostore bottle over and over again for their favourite ecostore shampoo, body wash and so much more.

In addition, the store also has CO2 natural refrigeration systems, an energy monitoring system (which automatically adjusts airflow, temperature and lighting) electric bike chargers and will soon have electric vehicle chargers. “We recycle all cardboard, plastic balling. We work with City Harvest to rescue all food not sold.”

The layout of the store itself is another innovative move from the team at Durham street New World. The fresh food courtyard of the store was inspired by a farmer’s market, with an open and relaxed vibe. “There is a nice feeling in store, some of this is to do with design, and the flow of the store but mostly it is to do with the vibe of the people. Our teams are happy and love coming to work, and in turn, our customers have a great experience, so they are happy too.”

Vaudrey wanted to create a team of passionate workers to enhance the store even further. This was started right at the beginning of the recruitment process, as the shortlisting and interviewing stages took place. “We have invested in training for everyone from the managers down to our newest recruits, we ran sessions where we talked about our vision for the store, our expectations, and what attitudes and behaviours are required, it doesn’t stop after the training session, it’s something we are invested in every day.”

This move to invest in staff has paid off as the store has proven popular with the locals in Christchurch. “The thing we are most proud of is that the customers love it as much as we do, and this is very exciting. The buzz in the store is fantastic; it genuinely is a nice place to shop,” said Vaudrey. “A huge part of that is our team. They really are working at the ‘next level’ and making us proud with their customer service. For us, the most important thing is to make a difference; we are able to do this with our teams, our customers and our community.”