Plans to create hub for tourists, locals

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An Oamaru family has big plans for the former Lazy Cat Pottery building in the Victorian Precinct, and hopes to turn it into a hub for both locals and tourists.
Bruce and Angela Blackie, along with daughter Anna King, have taken over the lease of the prominent Harbour St space, owned by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust.
Mrs King, who owns Midori Sushi Bar and Restaurant, felt the space would be perfect for the family’s latest business venture, which will be known as the Harbour Street Collective.
She said she was keen to make a mark in the precinct, and had the full support of the civic trust.
“We are looking at making the Harbour St premises into a local hub for tourists to come to shop, eat and get creative.”Plans include a cafe in the building’s front section that offers Midori sushi, coffee, artisan sandwiches, cakes and deli-style food, such as local meats and cheeses, while a plan is in place to stock local wines.
The family has purchased the Real Good Fudge Co which operated out of the building, and renamed it the Victorian Fudge Co.
Design Federation will also be part of the collective, in the rear of the building, and will offer a “full-service interior design experience” that includes residential and commercial design, samplings from local and international fabric houses and suppliers, and in-house hand-crafted products, including the company’s headboard range.
Design Federation director Annabel Berry said the company would have a “fully stocked resource centre”.
Also joining the collective are Ben and Richard Summerell, of Reclaimed and Renamed, who will restore old furniture and create new pieces in the building’s middle section, where the furniture, artwork and giftware will be sold.
The family originally looked at the former site of Birdlands Wine Company on the opposite side of Harbour St, but felt the Lazy Cat site better suited their plan, Mrs King said.
“We looked at the Birdlands site, then we saw this site and fell in love with it. It’s got more opportunities.
“It’s about actually getting people back down to this part of town. Obviously, tourists will be our main customers but getting locals here, there’s a really good opportunity for that, I think. There’s not much happening in the street, so I think this will be a buzz factor that will bring people back down here.”Mrs King, who recently relocated to Oamaru from Christchurch with husband Dustin and their young family, also planned to establish a children’s area.
“We will design the middle shop around an indoor kids play area because, as a mother, there is a big need for this in Oamaru, especially on those cold, rainy days.”The upstairs section of the building is already home to two local artists, and Mrs King was hopeful she could attract three more.
Once the business has become established, she hopes to build a deck at the rear of the building outside its double doors.
“It’s beautiful out there. It’s very sunny in the morning . . . you don’t see that side of the street being used often.”While there is plenty of renovation work to be done in the building, she is confident the collective will be open by September 1.
“We want to have everything set up before we open . . . but if we get our ball rolling, we could open the doors earlier.”