Introducing the faces behind your favourite local businesses in Takapuna!
It’s been a hard and unprecedented time for business and life across the board, so we thought we would introduce you to some of the wonderful people responsible for your favourite shops, eateries and businesses across Takapuna, so you can get to know a bit about them and their love for Takapuna and their customers!
If we want to keep Takapuna as the vibrant, fun place we all love – we need YOU to help, to SHOP LOCAL and support our local businesses now more than ever.
Life for Men – A passion for personal service
Takapuna resident Scott Donovan might be best known as the face of Takapuna’s Life For Men menswear store on Hurstmere Road, and his classy casual style matched by the smile he greets customers with. He may be less well known for his passion for jet boat fishing off Takapuna Beach.
Scott has a track record of 18 successful years in Hurstmere Road. He’s passionate about the business and delivering great menswear brands and personal service to everyone who walks in the door. “We give every person who enters the store a personal welcome and service to suit their individual needs,” he says. “I am proud of how my team have built an environment where we understand our customers and provide them with a unique experience.”
His clients, in turn, respond with well-deserved loyalty, becoming regular shoppers, and trusting Scott’s judgment as to what they should wear to be best turned out whatever the occasion. They also responded in droves to a special and innovative offer Scott made to the Takapuna community as Covid-19 Level 4 lockdown hit retailers like him. Not content to simply hunker down, Scott offered to brighten the lockdown mood with two vouchers that could be purchased during lockdown, and redeemed on anything in the Life For Men store once normal retail business resumed. The aptly named Covid ya dick! and Have a Corona and Chill vouchers asked members of the local community to pay either $250 or $500 during lockdown, and receive a voucher worth double that for use later. Original, irreverent – and immensely popular. Later in lockdown the Life For Men storefront was emblazoned with the names of dozens of regular clients (locals and from as far afield as Cambridge) who took up the offer, wrote encouraging comments on the store’s Facebook page and will now no doubt head to Hurstmere Road to reconnect in person – and choose their new winter gear.
He loves: jet boat fishing off Takapuna
We love: Life For Men’s personal service
Retrospace – haven for collectors
In the eight years since Rochelle Scoones’ Retrospace store opened on Hurstmere Road, it has become a popular destination for sci-fi and pop collectible enthusiasts. Rochelle, a movie buff, toy collector and long-time science fiction fan, is proudly the only female sci-fi collectables store owner in New Zealand.
Science fiction isn’t, however, Rochelle’s only passion. She’s also seriously into fitness and has run the Auckland half marathon a number of times, raising funds for SPCA. And of course there’s that personal collection of toys and Doctor Who memorabilia to spend time with… when the store allows.
Rochelle is helped in the store by husband Paul, also a lover of science fiction, especially Doctor Who. His Doctor Who fandom led to his becoming President of the Doctor Who New Zealand fan club, which in turn led to meeting Rochelle, his now full-time role writing informational subtitles for the BBC series of Doctor Who DVDs and Blu-rays, and to writing a comic strip guide book about Doctor Who.
A lifelong Shore-ite, Rochelle first opened her business online from home in Takapuna in 2009. Opening the store in Hurstmere Road while maintaining the online business gave her more opportunities to engage with and talk to people who share her and Paul’s passion for sci-fi. These opportunities are further expanded through their presence at the annual Armageddon Expos held around New Zealand each year. Like many sci-fi fans, Rochelle and Paul are hoping these will go ahead in in July and August in Christchurch, Tauranga and Wellington.
The store, however, is the hub, attracting plenty of drop-in business during school holidays, when she becomes particularly busy. Through her years of experience in online sales meant she was well-placed to sustain her business under Covid-19 Level 3 lockdown, Rochelle is delighted to have the doors open again.
She loves: movies, sci-fi and collecting toys
We love: Retrospace’s collection of collectibles
Zomer – Summer all year round
Like many North Shore locals, Saul Stevens is from the UK. He moved to New Zealand to experience “the world-famous Kiwi lifestyle” and “instantly fell in love with Takapuna”. Also like many others, he’s here to stay.
Saul has managed Zomer Café on The Strand for more than three of its seven-plus years, and its summer vibe and energy has yet to pall for either Saul or the café’s many regulars. One of Zomer’s attractions is its sunny morning aspect – one of the few Takapuna cafés to welcome the sunrise. “Some people might not know that Zomer in Dutch means summer, so at Zomer it’s summer all year round,” laughs Saul.
It’s also just a short stroll to or from the beach, and the menu and cabinet food offer plenty of choice.
Café life means long hours and erratic shifts, especially if, as Zomer was doing just before our worlds turned upside down, you’re also offering takeaway evening meals and catering services and open for evening functions. In his spare time, Saul’s an avid fisher and his favourite activity with his son is fishing from the rocks at Takapuna. “We’re not always successful,” he notes wryly, “but there are plenty of great restaurants to lift our spirits when we’ve struck out.”
He loves: Fishing, Takapuna’s community
We love: Zomer’s summer energy every day