Creation Of A Kiwi Icon
Media Release August 2008
Creation Of A Kiwi Icon
In 1983, some important things happened in little old New Zealand. Princess Diana, already on her way to becoming a pop-culture megastar, visited New Zealand with Prince Charles and baby Prince William, who obligingly played with a Buzzy Bee in front of the world’s media. DD Smash was the Band of the Year, and songbirds Brooke Fraser and Hollie Smith were born.
Also making its way into the world was Kiwi retail icon the Paper Plus Group (initially named Nationwide Stationers), which began as a cooperative of just five book and stationery retailers. By the following year, it had 62 members.
The level of growth and brand exposure was so high that by 1987, a rebrand had already become necessary, and the Paper Plus brand debuted on the national retail stage.
It wasn’t the only thing going on in that watershed year: along with the stockmarket crash, 1987 heralded the first Lotto draw, the first New Zealand heart transplant, the first feature film by an unknown director called Peter Jackson, and the adoption of Maori as an official language.
Things ticked along nicely until 1997, when the brand was refreshed and updated to give it more consumer appeal and a modern look. In a fortuitous piece of timing, the brand new loyalty programme Fly Buys had just emerged, and Paper Plus jumped on board as one of the founding retailers. It was a match made in retail heaven: Fly Buys has grown to be one of the most successful loyalty programmes in the world, and Paper Plus remains the only stationery and bookseller with Fly Buys.
The Take Note brand emerged in 2000 from the Group’s purchase of the Topline and Paperworld brands, concentrating on being local convenient stores with a focus on stationery and cards.
Further expansion followed in 2005, when the Group purchased the Books & More franchise. The three brands were then rationalized into the two Paper Plus and Take Note brands, which are now represented in nearly every town and city in the land; Paper Plus has 104 stores and Take Note 63.
The Group has always had a strong affiliation with other iconic Kiwi brands; in addition to Fly Buys in Paper Plus stores, Take Note is linked with the AA Rewards programme and many stores have services for NZ Post, Kiwibank and Lotto.
A third brand in the Group, Office Spot, was launched in 2007 to service the stationery needs of home offices and businesses. Also last year, the flagship Paper Plus brand was relaunched in a new Auckland concept store, and was so well received that the concept is now being rolled out region by region, starting with seven stores in Tauranga in June.
Paper Plus Group CEO Rob Smith said a gala week of celebrations in Wellington, beginning Monday 21 July, was just reward for the Group’s staff, franchisees, suppliers and other stakeholders. “As a 100 percent New Zealand-owned company, we have a strong presence in communities around the country, and we’re proud of our legacy, what we have achieved so far and have helped Kiwi business owners to achieve.
“It’s been a big year for us with the launch of the new concept, and we took a few days in Wellington to unveil what we’re planning next, and to raise a glass to the Group and to all the people who have helped make it the successful business it is today.”
To wrap up the week of celebrations, Paper Plus held a gala awards dinner to recognize the efforts of the Group’s staff, franchisees and suppliers. The evening was a great success, with several of the Group’s stores taking home an award. Paper Plus Ferrymead was the big winner on the night, beating out stiff competition from 103 other stores to be named the Paper Plus Store of the Year. Owners Kerry and Barry Messervy said the award was a huge surprise and a great honour.
Take Note Carterton was also up against some tough competition, beating 62 other Take Note stores from around the country to take out the Take Note Store of the Year Award. Owner Kim Juno said that being chosen for the award highlighted her team’s efforts in meeting the criteria for running a store and consistently working hard to accomplish what they have in the past year.
Also named winners – Allan and Elizabeth Morpeth from Paper Plus Kelston, who are the proud holders of 2008’s Rookie of the Year Award. Since taking over the run-down store two years ago, Allan and Elizabeth have restored it to its true glory. “It was hard work getting customers back into the store,” Elizabeth said, “but it now looks great and is very well presented, which is inviting to customers. It’s great to have this recognition of our performance.”
Take Note Takaka won the AA Rewards-Customer Loyalty Award with owner Bob Hancock attributing the award to his and his employees’ dedication to asking customers whether they have an AA Rewards card. He also pinpoints the move to a new store 18 months ago as a contributing factor in the success.
Paper Plus Lambton Square is the proud winner of this year’s Fly Buys – Customer Loyalty Award. Owner Amit Jivan said being chosen for the award highlighted the store’s enthusiasm for promoting Fly Buys, resulting in the largest Fly Buys push in the last 12 to 18 months. Amit prides his store on having strong loyalty from regular customers and on being a family-owned business.