Owner-Operators farewell PAK’nSAVE Invercargill after 31 Years
08 December 2023
Bryan and Anne Dobson farewell PAK'nSAVE Invercargill after 31 years.
It was a very different world in 1992 when Bryan and Anne Dobson first took the reins as owner-operators of Invercargill, one of only two stores in the South Island at the time.
Little did the Dobsons their tenure with the supermarket would span more than three decades and create a lasting impact on their Invercargill community.
Now, as the couple prepares to say goodbye following 31 years of dedicated service, Bryan reflects on the legacy they’ve left behind.
“It’s all about the people. Whenever I try and focus on what was most important, the first thing that comes to mind is all the people we’ve served and worked alongside. It’s been a privilege to work with our whole team for so long.
"A few team members have been at the store longer than we have which is a testament to their loyalty and commitment.” Bryan says.
Bryan and Anne the Invercargill community has played such a large part in their everyday lives.
“Many customers have said they’re sad we’ll soon be gone, but that it’s well-deserved and that we should enjoy our retirement,” Bryan says.
A love of grocery runs deep for the Dobsons. As a child, Anne worked part time at her parents' dairy, while Bryan sold fresh produce at his family's roadside stall. It wasn’t until after Bryan became a member of the Foodstuffs South Island co-operative and owned Service Centre in Dunedin, that the couple met. After two years, they were married.
Two years later, they assumed ownership of their first ever supermarket – Invercargill.
“We had a lot of work to do when we took it over,” Anne says.
“At the time, Invercargill wasn’t progressing in population numbers and there was some big competition too. Foodstuffs South Island presented us with the opportunity to grow the store into what it is today, and we are incredibly grateful for that opportunity. The co-op has been so supportive of us from .
“Whilst bringing up a young family, Anne helped in the office, while Bryan managed the day-to-day operations of the store.
“In the years since, we’ve never thought about switching stores or careers once. We’ve always regarded Invercargill as our family store, and being part of the Foodstuffs South Island co-op has been wonderful.”
Bryan and Anne say a career highlight they are particularly proud of was the three-year store renovation amidst the Covid- 19 pandemic.
Anne says her other memories all involved giving back to the local community such as supporting events like the Santa Parade.
As Bryan and Anne finally step back after 31 years of service, their children Matthew, Jason, and Tanya are poised to carry on their legacy.
Jason is the Owner/ Operator of New World Balclutha, Matthew is the Operator of New World Cromwell, while Tanya is one of two Store Managers at Invercargill.
Bryan says it wasn’t too surprising to see all three kids following in their footsteps.
“When most of your conversations at home revolve around and you work there as your part time job, it becomes part of you.
“We’ve been so proud to watch them slowly work their way up the ladder, all go out and get degrees, and collect the knowledge they need to run a store themselves. There was nothing else they wanted to do.”
Bryan and Anne are beginning the process of passing Invercargill on to the incoming new owners – Brent and Nicola Prue, the former owners of New World Hokitika.
As for what comes next for the couple, Bryan says they’re not quite sure just yet.
“To go from being very busy to retired is quite the change, but it will be great to spend time with family and friends and to enjoy some travelling,” he says.
“We hope the Southland Community will continue to enjoy the store for years to come.