HUSBAND AND WIFE DUO A REAL CATCH FOR THE VILLAGE
Joanne is seriously one of the warmest and most positive people I’ve ever met. Opening a business in 2020 can’t have been easy but she and her husband are determined to make it work and have effortlessly embraced village life with enthusiasm and warmth. This duo are true keepers … and their fish n chips at The Seafood Collective, 438 Mount Eden Road, are truly divine.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Mt Eden, but grew up in West Auckland, so now I’ve done a full circle. My husband came to NZ from Tonga when he was 10yrs old and grew up in Grey Lynn. We met in a nightclub and nobody thought it would work because he was only 17 and I was 18 We’ve been married for 26 years now with 3 daughters.
What was your journey to opening the store?
Prior to this we operated a food truck for seven years. It was loads of fun – we did a lot of concerts and festivals. My husband has been in the industry for about 27 years and worked for The Seafood Collective as their operations manager. We had always been interested in this location. One night we came here and watched the guy working here at that time from across the road. We didn’t go inside, we just watched and then he ACTUALLY closed. That’s when the opportunity came up and we opened on January 10. So, it was meant to be.
When we met the landlord we really fell in love with this shop. The landlord is the son of the shops original owner from 1939 and he was still just as passionate about the place. We walked through and it’s very old, but it does have character. We were like oh yup, this is the one.
Was running such a labour-intensive business a challenge with family life?
We work six days a week and we run it as a family. I’m the night owl and my husband is the morning boy. Our daughters come in on Friday nights and our 10-year-old daughter lives with us in the apartment upstairs. We still own a house in Green Bay but our middle daughter lives there with her partner now. I do go back there every morning because I take my little one to school at Blockhouse Bay. We didn’t think that we would live onsite initially because of our 10 year old, but the apartment upstairs gives her a place where she can do her homework because we don’t finish till 9:30pm.
We want to establish a close interaction with the people of the village. It’s not like a food truck where there are different people everywhere you go. These are the same people that will walk through our doors. The Mt Eden locals are fantastic. I don’t think we would have got through COVID without the people in the village because they have really supported us, they have really supported local.
What other shops do you support in the Village?
We buy produce from Glenys next door at KC Loo. We use the bakery for us and our daughter. We have Indian at the restaurant and beautiful cakes from Olaf’s. We love the florist as well and they come and get fish and chips. What we didn’t realise when we started was how much of a village it is. It was not Mt Eden, it’s Mt Eden Village. We didn’t realise that it was going to be so like that. We have Sid this guy who comes in… he just pops his head in the door and says ‘how are you guys’? He will go and get us chocolate cake. People will buy us bottles of wine and put them in our fridge. We love Dot, she is such a sweetheart. She lives around the corner she comes in for her Gurnard. Dot does amazing things for people in the village.
I’m a really bubbly and happy smiley sort of person and you will get that when you come in. I want to know how your day was. We wanted to create something that wasn’t just a takeaway fish shop but more a place where we can share our love of seafood.
Pop in and Jo will ask you about your day and you will eat food prepared fresh with oodles of Aroha. The best combo!