Shoppers return to ‘cleanest store in town’

There was not a rat in sight at the reopening of "the cleanest store in town" after two weeks of the rodents running rings around the supermarket giant.

Countdown South Dunedin officially reopened its doors at 8am yesterday, marking an end to the shop’s 18-day closure.

Cars began to trickle in once news broke of the supermarket’s return.

About 20 cars, including staff vehicles, had filed in by 8.15am and about 50 cars had arrived by 9.30am.

The store appeared spotless with full and neatly arranged shelves in every aisle and a handful of staff seen patrolling the store.

The bakery appeared to be back in action as staff began to lay out baked goods soon after opening.

Lots of bargain stickers could be seen inside.

The Otago Daily Times visited the store right as it opened and asked shoppers their thoughts on the store and its rat problem.

Toby, a shopper who did not want his last name published, said the store was likely the cleanest in all of New Zealand.

He noted that two Pure Services cleaning trucks could be seen in the carpark.

Even after a widely publicised rat infestation, he had no issue shopping there and still trusted the Countdown brand, Toby said.

When he heard the store was reopening yesterday, Bill Marslin, of Waverley, said he swung by in search of bargains.

He managed to snag a leg of lamb for half price and said he saw another customer walk away with about eight of them.

Mr Marslin said it was very hard to keep supermarkets vermin free and believed other stores faced the same problem.

Shoppers return to Countdown Dunedin South, at 323 Andersons Bay Rd, which has been closed for...
Shoppers return to Countdown Dunedin South, at 323 Andersons Bay Rd, which has been closed for more than two weeks. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
"I feel for them. Nobody wants what has happened here.

"They were too slow getting to it but they have done something about it. They’ve tried to make it right.

"To me, this will be the cleanest store in the town at the moment."

Staff members met customers at the door and welcomed them back with chocolate, Mr Marslin receiving an entire bag of Easter eggs for free.

Elwyn, of Kew, said she had been shopping at Dunedin South for years.

When the store closed she got her groceries from the franchise’s Mailer St store, but the selection was not as good, she said.

"It was good to come in and be welcomed as a friend coming back.

"There’s a lot of the staff that I recognise ... and I’ve missed them."

Later in the afternoon, about 12.30pm, the ODT returned to the store and observed a steady stream of customers entering the store.

It appeared news of the rat infestation had not dissuaded some shoppers.

One shopper, who asked to remain anonymous, said the rats were not something he was dwelling on.

Another shopper, a 28-year-old man, said the store looked "cleaner than normal" and he thought the store had been closed for long enough.

"In life people make mistakes ... It’s unfortunate for them. I feel for them."