Fresh Collective Alberton, a much-loved local supermarket in the heart of Mt Albert, was forced to close earlier this year after experiencing devastating damage in the Auckland Anniversary floods.
The flooding saw rainwater gush into the supermarket, reaching higher than knee level at its peak, submerging the entire store and destroying all the stock, equipment, and fittings.
Now, the supermarket, part of Foodstuffs North Island, is undergoing an extensive renovation, which will see the store get a new, bigger layout and an expanded grocery offering for the community.
The revamped store will extend into the neighbouring site, formerly Italian restaurant Sal Rose, following a decision by the restaurant owners not to reopen. The new supermarket will be renamed New World Mt Albert, and the Foodstuffs North Island team is currently preparing for a new owner-operator to take the reins.
James Cardno, who ran Fresh Collective Alberton for several years, is now the owner-operator of New World Whangaparāoa and will support the renovation project. JCadno said the supermarket's presence has been sorely missed in the community these past months.
"I feel fortunate to be able to offer some advice with the new store, having been part of the community for so many years," said Cadno.
"Having seen the supermarket at its worst, with so much flooding, to have it back to life fully refurbished with lots of new improvements will bring me and many other people a huge amount of satisfaction."
He continued that many locals were amazing after the floods, sending messages and offers of support, even though some were dealing with their own flooded homes.
The community shared with Cadno how eager they were for the supermarket to reopen. After such a terrible event, the full renovations were a positive outcome for Mt Albert locals.
The renovation is currently in its planning stages. It will include fresh food options and former favourites like fresh sushi, an extensive wine selection, and other new additions, which will be shared closer to the planned reopening in May 2024.
New flood protection measures will be designed and built into the new building to reduce the likelihood of being flooded again.
Following the store's closure, team members were redeployed to other New World or Foodstuffs stores in the area, and it's hoped some familiar faces will be able to return once the new store opens next year.