Wellington heritage grocery Moore Wilson's took out the award for 'Hottest retail business over 20 years in operation' at the Gem Retail Hotlist. Here's how they've managed to keep it fresh.
Moore Wilson’s sprawling three-storey flagship is a fixture in central Wellington, and has been since 1918. Originally established as a wholesaler, Moore Wilson’s has built up the consumer side of its business as the dividing lines between wholesale and retail have blurred.
As well as its flagship site it has three cash and carry stores in the greater Wellington region, in Porirua, Masterton and Lower Hutt.
The 101-year-old business has moved with the times, introducing a plethora of food-focused retail innovations from New Zealand’s first fresh food specialty market, Moore Wilson’s Fresh, in 1998; to the more recent Chook Wagon, a replica 1947 Citroen-H van selling free-range chickens cooked in its traditional rotisserie oven. It’s also embraced ecommerce with Moore Wilson’s Online.
Moore Wilson’s is notable for being a fourth-generation family-owned business, with managing director Graeme Moore and his daughter, director Julie Moore, currently at its helm.
Julie Moore shared some thoughts on the company’s longevity with NZ Retail.
Moore Wilson’s is one of only a handful of New Zealand business that’s over 100 years old. What do you think those businesses have in common?
We couldn’t speak for others but in our experience being a family owned and operated business gives us a strong and consistent leadership which always keeps customers front of mind. The key to Moore Wilson’s longevity is enjoying what we do and maintaining a passion to service the hospitality industry in Wellington.
Can you share some thoughts on the factors the business’s heritage introduces into its strategic direction?
Moore Wilson’s is and has always been a food business here to support the local foodservice industry. Having a personal touch and continuity of leadership (only three managing directors in 101 years) gives us a point of difference and strong connection with our customers which strongly influences our strategic decisions.
How have you managed to keep it evolving with the times?
Listening to our customers and keeping our eyes on trends from overseas gives us insights into the areas to develop. Being a private business also allows us to make quick decisions and take risks on trialling concepts or changes.
Can you guess at what the next 100 years might hold for Moore Wilson’s?
We will continue to evolve with the food industry and will do our best to lead the way with product range, new concepts and technology where it can improve the customer experience whilst staying true to our grocer roots.
This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 764 October/November 2019.