South Island hospitality business and accommodation on the market

A rare opportunity to secure a waterfront property and a growing business adjacent to the new Whale Trail Cycleway

One of New Zealand’s most well-known beachfront hospitality operations, located on one of the country’s busiest tourist routes and a strategically important stop on a new cycle trail, has been placed on the market for sale.

The Store in Kekerengu on the Kaikoura Coast of the South Island is a fully licensed restaurant, wedding and functions venue, and now also a prime campground right on the water’s edge of a little-used beach.

The Store Kekerengu has been trading for some 27 years, consistently growing the range and quality of services on offer while simultaneously building an outstanding reputation, voted last year as the country’s favourite South Island road stop in a TVNZ poll.

Located beside State Highway 1 midway between Blenheim and Kaikoura, The Store Kekerengu sits on some 10.11ha of freehold waterfront land with riparian rights, and is directly adjacent to the new Whale Trail Cycleway linking Picton with Christchurch and the Hurunui spur.

Cycle trails have been a boon for New Zealand’s tourism sector over the past decade and have seen scores of tourism and hospitality operations open in the Bay of Islands and Coromandel, through to the Central North Island, and throughout Otago. The Kaikoura Coast will now join that roll call, with The Store Kekerengu perfectly positioned as a rider’s venue of choice, whether for a meal stop, or for the provision of accommodation services.

The land and buildings supporting The Store Kekerengu at SH1, in conjunction with the business, are now being marketed for sale by tender through Colliers Marlborough. Sales director Andy Poswillo says road traffic along the Kaikoura coastline had increased by 16 per cent since 2015, with The Store Kekerengu picking up a portion of the rising traffic volume for its patronage.

The extensive catalogue of building and amenity infrastructure within The Store Kekerengu property for sale features include: an architecturally designed restaurant, cafe, and bar featuring large, vaulted ceilings, a double-sided fireplace and totally modern yet rustic feel, along with hardwood decking, all serviced by a sealed car park and graveled driveway; a two-bedroom apartment for use by owner/managers or staff; a separate office; 8ha hectares of waterfront land capable of accommodating powered motorhomes and caravans, or tent campers; a newly completed bathroom and toilet block servicing the adjoining campground, sustained by septic tank plant and consented for 100 guests, and granted resource consent to subdivide into three titles, retaining full riparian rights and to construct five chalets for premium accommodation.

A large rugby pitch-sized front lawn between The Store’s hospitality premises and the beach has also been used to host large marquees capable of seating hundreds of guests. The venue has hosted a number of weddings over the past few years as well as a range of corporate events, with plenty of scope to further market the property to drive event-related revenue.

In addition, the business is now servicing day trippers on the Marlborough Flyer steam train chugging out of Blenheim, with each visit bringing in up to 300 passengers for lunch. Music events, garden tours and adventure travel are next on the list as attractions, with the return of international cruise ships to Picton classified as a ‘long-term’ opportunity for increasing lunch trade at the venue.

Poswillo advised: “The Store Kekerengu’s vertically-integrated business model means guests attending functions in the venue have the option of camping immediately next door in an area which is now reaping the environmental benefits of 25 years of tree planting and landscaping, thanks to two generations of the same family owning and developing the site and business.

“Food is prepared on-site in the venue’s large commercial-grade kitchen which contains combi’ ovens, hobs, fryers, refrigeration and freezer units, commercial dishwashing and rinsing units, and an expanse of stainless-steel food preparation and service benching.”

The Store Kekerengu employs eight full-time and one part-time personnel across its foodservice and hospitality operations, with the diversification into campground servicing slotting nicely into existing staffing levels.

According to Poswillo New Zealand’s tourism sector is now focused on servicing the domestic tourism market rather than international traveller numbers for the foreseeable future, and accommodation providers who have developed their business model along the lines of attracting Kiwis were in pole position to benefit from the new societal regime.

He said: “The Store Kekerengu has remained incredibly resilient after two major economic disruptions, first the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016, then Covid-19 last year. Each time, the quality of the venue and the product delivered has seen the business get back up and running quickly.”

Furthermore, in response to the growing number of cycle trial guests pedalling along the route he says The Store Kekerengu’s existing rudimentary camping infrastructure operations could easily be expanded to deliver greater degrees of guest comfort known as ‘glamping’, or glamour camping. Resource consent was last year granted by Kaikoura District Council to increase its nightly camper capacity number from 60 to 100 guests and to construct five premium chalets on site.

He added: “There is a clear opportunity to capitalise on the business opportunities which the Whale Trail will bring including equipment hire for those only wanting to ride a central portion of the trail, or the introduction of a shuttle service.”

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