Gift shop closure “sad occasion” for Petone artists
May 27, 2019
Petone’s destination gift shop Nzique won’t be reopening its doors after going into liquidation, says the store’s former manager.
The store’s owner and sole director Carl Dysthe passed away last year without passing on a formal business plan. The liquidation process is being finalised.
The business had been going for over 20 years, located on Petone’s Jackson St for about nine years.
Manager Helena Gledstone said she had tried to keep the store going but the issue was a lack of suitably-sized premises.
The store featured art pieces and gift items made by New Zealand artists. “The artists were shocked [by the closing],” said Gledstone. “It was very sudden.”
There were underlying financial issues with the business, she said. “In addition to losing the space to sell their products and artworks, there was a loss of a lot of money.”
Gledstone managed the store for almost four years and said passing on the news of the owner’s death to staff and suppliers was difficult.
“It was a busy wee shop. I’ve been answering a lot of questions on Facebook on our page, a lot of people aren’t sure it’s closed down. I’m trying to direct people to other art vendors to keep businesses going that way.”
Gledstone said the shop staff had been “amazing”. “They stayed on with me and worked for about a month before the liquidators took over, and often they weren’t getting paid.”
“It’s really hard to go from working in a place like this back to a normal retail job.”
Artspace Gallery owner Alfred Memelink said many local artists relied on Nzique to sell their work.
“It’s really sad not only for them but for customers. It was a joy and a pleasure being part of it, the staff looked after artists as much as they did the customers. It was a great place for emerging artists, it gave them a chance.”
Woodworker Hugh Mill had been with Nzique for 20 years and said he had sold well with them. “Having that income cut off was a blow. It took two weeks to remove all our work, and all the artists were in the same boat. It was a very sad occasion.”
Mill said he sold his work at other local galleries including Artspace, but that they did not sell as well as they did at Nzique.