A few months ago, Jamie Wright and husband Malcolm took over Omarama’s well-known antiques and collectibles store on Chain Hills Highway, famous for its display of costumes from television shows such as Xena: Warrior Princess and Cleopatra 2525, and renamed it Big Rooster. Reporter Daniel Birchfield pops in for a chat with Jamie to find out more.
Q: Where are you from originally and how did you end up in New Zealand?
I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I met my husband when I was working in Indonesia, as he was as well. He’s a Kiwi, so that’s how I ended up here.
Q: What attracted you to the Waitaki Valley?
Malcolm is from the North Island and we had been coming to the South Island for holidays for some time. He’s a glider pilot and Omarama has some of the best gliding in the world. We fell in love with the Otago area and South Island in general.
Q: Why did you decide to buy the business?
We already knew the store and we loved the store. We are good friends with the previous owners and knew they had done an incredible job in the last 15 or 16 years building up a great reputation and good client base. We just walked in and started up. It just seemed like a great opportunity for us and a nice change from teaching for me.
Q: How are things going so far?
Very well. There’s a lot of return customers coming in and getting to know us, which is great.
Q: What kind of comments do you get about your amazing collection of costumes?
Just that it’s really cool. A lot of people come from other countries and they have a lot of questions about where the shows were filmed and say they watched the shows all the time. Everybody wants to know if they’re for sale – and no, they’re not.
Q: What do you enjoy most about running the business?
I think the diversity of people you get coming through here, literally from all over the world. The locals have been so warm and welcoming and I really enjoy the staff, too.
Q: What do you like to get up to in your spare time?
I love cooking and I love hiking. We’ve just bought a little old sail boat and we’re having fun doing that, and of course antiquing.