Opening day looms for Rangiora Farmers

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Rangiora’s new $14 million Farmers department store was completed yesterday. (on Wednesday)
Opening day is now only a few weeks away on September 1. It has been a long wait and a huge project which began when the old Farmers building was demolished in August 2014 after being closed in March 2012 because of earthquake damage.
Work on the new two-storey building began last August. The huge 7500 squaremetre building includes three lifts, two sets of stairs, three fire escapes and Rangiora’s first escalator.
It was built by New Zealand company Watts and Hughes Construction.
Project manager for the building, Henry Stuart, from Scotland, said more than 300 men and women from all around the world had worked on the construction of the building.
There had been workers from Russia, the Philippines, Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina, and Slovenia, he said. The construction crew worked six days a week on the project with 60 workers on site most days.
With construction work now completed Henry will have his last day on site tomorrow. (Friday). He was pleased with the construction process.
‘‘It was a good build,’’ he said. A huge amount of money had been spent on making the building as safe as it could possibly be.
Now the building will be handed over to the occupation staff to prepare for September 1’s big opening.
During a tour of the almost completed building on Tuesday last week with Farmers Trading Company representatives Dean Cook, head of marketing, and Gillian Petzer, national visual merchandising manager, the store was a hive of activity with many workers on site completing the finishing touches.
The Farmers Department store, and their subsidiaries in the new store, Whitcoulls, Pascoes, and Stevens, are the main sponsors for this year’s inaugural Farmers Rangiora Festival which will begin on Friday September 2, the day after the store opens.
The festival which was originally planned to be a winter festival for July, was delayed until early spring to coincide with the Farmers opening, but will revert back to a winter time slot next year. The mobile ice-skating rink booked for the festival will be available for skating on September 1.
Dean said Farmers staff would be busy preparing the store for the opening right up to the morning the doors open for business.
They are hoping for a big crowd and have many in-store specials planned for customers on the day including ‘‘doorbusters’’ which were selected items offered at a special discount price for a limited time.