Alpha Group is little-known in its home country, but the Kiwi manufacturer and retailer of health supplements has such high brand recognition in China that Chinese tourists seek it out when they visit. It’s these customers, as well as the New Zealand market, that Alpha Group is targeting with its bold new flagship store at Auckland’s waterfront.
The fit-out was designed by business interiors company Stack. Located on Quay St opposite the ferry terminal, the flagship store was opened with a soft launch on August 1, and had a grand opening event on September 26. Among the distinguished guests were MP Melissa Lee and National Party president Peter Goodfellow.
At the opening, Alpha Group general manager Maggie Chen spoke of how group founder Professor Yi Huai Gao came to New Zealand in 1992 as a visiting scholar, founding the company six years later. The company’s products are inspired by traditional Chinese medicine and supported by a strong focus on R&D, which continues through research partnerships with Massey University.
The company entered China early in its growth, and now has more than 1000 stores there. It sells into more than 20 countries worldwide. It has one existing store in New Zealand, located on Auckland’s Dominion Rd, and is considering opening more near iconic Kiwi tourist locations.
Chen says the fit-out of the flagship store was designed to reflect Alpha Group’s identity and history. The main display tables are shaped like mushrooms, reflecting Professor Gao’s focus on mycology. The lighting fixtures above are arranged to resemble the molecular structure of polysaccharides, a complex carbohydrate which is important to Alpha Group’s products.
Displays of herbs and fungi in glass apothecary-style containers reference Alpha Group’s connection with traditional Chinese medicine, and shelves and fixtures have been created using natural pine.
Alpha Group’s New Zealand sales manager James Yang told NZ Retail magazine that the company was keen to see the store build brand recognition within New Zealand.
In his address at the store opening, Goodfellow hailed Auckland’s importance to tourism. He said the store was a great addition to Auckland, where many visitors experience New Zealand for the first time.
“[Tourists] want to recognise something they can also find in China, but that has deep roots in New Zealand.”
Read more about Alpha Group’s flagship store in the October / November issue of NZ Retail magazine, out soon.