Brya Ingram / Stuff
Hunting guide Fraser Cooper and vineyard manager Nev Gane have taken over hunting and fishing from Blenheim on Main Street.
Nev Gane first shot the duck when he was 4 years old. Next year will be the 48th opening matinee he hasn’t missed.
“So passionate,” he said.
The fifth generation Marlburian and fellow countryman Fraser Cooper are the new owners of Hunting and Fishing in Blenheim.
Cooper, a hunting guide, said being local the couple had a good idea of what was available in Marlborough in terms of the outdoors.
Hounds, horses and riders from across the country were out in force to help the South Canterbury Hunt celebrate its 140th anniversary with two hunts held over the Queen’s birthday weekend.
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“So whether it’s fishing, hunting or camping, we have a good understanding. I guess that’s probably why we wanted to tackle it.
“I hope we are recognizable to people shopping here and know that we are both ourselves outside.
“So what we’re really selling to people is what we believe in.”
The couple took over the business from Don Hansen, who introduced the Hunting and Fishing brand to Marlborough in 2007. Hunting and Fishing is a co-operative with 38 shops across the country, each owned by an individual owner. The Marlborough branch covers up to the River Clarence and the Rai Valley.
Hansen, who moved the store from Scott St to Main St in 2012, said it was time to “do something else”.
The 59-year-old said the “proudest thing” about running the store was watching the staff grow.
“[Some] started when school kids were literally vacuuming, and you see them now, they have their own kids, and they still come, and you have a relationship with them.
“You couldn’t be someone here…who doesn’t care about people’s personalities.” It is a small city. It’s important to be in touch. »
Hansen said he has no plans for the future yet.
“No expectations on anything. Take a spring and summer just to relax a bit.
The new owners, on the other hand, already had plans.
“We now offer a lot more options for gear, and we’re adding a lot more to footwear, camping, and apparel,” Cooper said. “We are convinced that we will need a larger location in the near future.
“[But] our first opportunity would be to develop the site here.
But first, a quick and easy change in opening hours has been planned, with late nights in the summer, so that the store can serve “those who stop work at five o’clock”.
Raised in the Awatere Valley on the family farm, Cooper managed the Blenheim store for a year in 2017 before returning to guide and manage for Avon Valleys Safaris.
“I really enjoyed doing what I was doing, but having the opportunity to come here was just something for me and my own business,” the 37-year-old said.
“I love being out in the field and now, even as an owner, I want to be the face of the business and keep talking to customers rather than walking away from them.
“I want people to be able to come and tell me about their experiences and the equipment and gear they need.”