Local owners serve community with a smile: New On the Spot store brings quality and convenience to Northlake

9 February 2024


On the Spot Northlake owner-operators Riley White and Mackenzie Brownlee


A new On the Spot grocery and convenience store in the heart of Wanaka’s Northlake suburb is fast becoming a local favourite thanks to some familiar faces behind the counter.

Northlake residents and first-time owner-operators Riley White and Mackenzie Brownlee opened On the Spot Northlake just before Christmas and have relished the challenge and excitement of serving their own community at such a busy time of year. 

“It’s not easy starting any business, especially during the holidays, but we’ve had great support from our team, suppliers and customers,” says Riley. 

We’re just six weeks in and receiving great feedback so far. We’re also beginning to recognize some regulars, getting to know one another by name, and having great conversations with our customers– it’s been an amazing experience.”

On the Spot Northlake is the newest addition to the group of more than 70 On the Spot stores across the South Island, which are part of the Foodstuffs South Island cooperative. As one of the group’s largest fully serviced stores, On the Spot Northlake provides all the grocery staples customers expect from a small supermarket, including fresh produce, meat and a selection of beer and wine. It also features a commercial kitchen offering a variety of options including food to go, fried chicken and chips (affectionately known as Northlake Fried Chicken or NFC!), and even real fruit ice cream. 


On the spot northlake

The new On the Spot Northlake store


In taking on his first store ownership role alongside partner Mackenzie, Riley is putting 14 years of supermarket experience with the Foodstuffs South Island cooperative – most recently as the grocery manager at New World Three Parks – to work in his own neighborhood.

We’ve lived in Wanaka for almost four years now, and we’re Northlake locals ourselves. We knew firsthand the area’s want and need for the convenience of its own store.

“We jumped at the opportunity to open here and feel very fortunate to serve our own neighbourhood with easy access, convenience and quality products. 

“We also want to be part of the great community vibe here. We love being at the hub of Northlake and offering some of that classic kiwi ‘corner store’ experience to locals and visitors.”

Riley’s evident passion for the grocery industry started fresh out of secondary school, when he joined New World Fendalton, working various roles over a decade there before moving to Three Parks where he further built his management skills. 

“I was tossing up university when I started, and certainly didn’t expect to spend ten years in one business, but I absolutely love this industry and the people in it,” Riley says. 

“Building relationships with staff and customers on a daily basis is a really special part of the job, as is being a wider part of the Foodstuffs South Island team.”  

Partner in life and in the store’s operation, Mackenzie, has put her experience in real estate and years of watching Riley work in the supermarket industry to work, too.

“Jumping from my old career to this was an easy decision to make. I could see how hard Riley worked and was extremely confident in his abilities,” she says.

“We’ve also travelled overseas together for long stints, and it worked well, so we knew we could work together in stressful situations and under pressure!”

Mackenzie says the support from the rest of the Foodstuffs South Island team has also been reassuring and key to their ongoing success. 

“They check in on us, in case we need anything, and the other owner-operators in the region are incredibly supportive and on call. It’s a great team to be a part of.”