Last page turns for airport book store

Paper Plus Mosgiel owner and operator John MacDonell will close his bookshop at Dunedin Airport tomorrow. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Paper Plus Mosgiel owner and operator John MacDonell will close his bookshop at Dunedin Airport tomorrow. Photo: Shawn McAvinue

It was the end of a chapter for a bookstore at Dunedin Airport which closed on Friday.

Paper Plus Dunedin Airport owner operator John MacDonell said the bookstore would closed on Friday ending 13 years of operation.

The decision to close was made after airport management told him the inside of the terminal was being renovated and he had two options.

The first was to move into a temporary shop while he paid to have a new shop fitted out.

The second option was to get out of his existing lease.

Agreeing to the second option ‘‘felt right’’.

‘‘I’d had a really good run and really enjoyed it but I feel it’s time to move on and give someone else a go.’’

A new business called Relay — an international chain of newspaper, magazine, book and convenience stores — was moving in.

Running a retail business in an airport came with challenges and ‘‘doesn’t always stack up’’.

The shop needed to be staffed for nearly 14 hours a day, every day of the year.

Gaps in flight schedules could result in the terminal being nearly empty for up to three hours, he said.

When the flight to Brisbane arrived about 1pm and departed about 3pm, it was ‘‘fantastic’’ for business, as customers were relaxed and spent more in the afternoon.

Now the flight to Brisbane arrives about midnight and departs about 7.30am.

‘‘It’s a struggle to get people to spend early in the morning . . . there’s nothing you can do about it; you’ve just got to take those ebbs and flows and work with it.’’

He had employed up to nine part-time staff. Most of them had found work elsewhere or would be employed by Relay, he said.

Opening the airport shop in 2005 was a ‘‘punt’’ but it paid off and allowed him to open the Paper Plus Mosgiel in 2011.

He remained passionate about bookshops and was not seeking a career change.

The Mosgiel shop would be business as usual and he planned to retain fixtures and fittings from the airport store so he could ‘‘explore options’’ for starting another business opportunity with Paper Plus.

‘‘I love Paper Plus.’’

He travelled abroad to help Paper Plus New Zealand select toys to sell across the country and such trips had included Hong Kong and Australia.

The industry was in a good state, he said.

‘‘You are never going to replace the tactile [experience] of holding a book.’’

SHAWN.MCAVINUE@thestar.co.nz

Add a Comment

 

2202013-620x80.jpg

2202013-620x40.jpg