Move will give Moke a lift

Moke's Lynn Stevens (left) director Keith Stevens and designer Anneke Stevens are moving to the top floor of the Loan and Merc building in Oamaru's Harbour St. Photo: Hamish MacLean
Moke's Lynn Stevens (left) director Keith Stevens and designer Anneke Stevens are moving to the top floor of the Loan and Merc building in Oamaru's Harbour St. Photo: Hamish MacLean
One of Oamaru's newer success stories is moving into the former home of one of Oamaru's oldest.

The five-year-old, family-owned outdoor apparel brand Moke is moving into the top floor of the category 1, 1882 Loan and Merc building in Harbour St.

Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust chairman Graeme Clark confirmed the trust last month received consent to install a limited-access lift into the former grainstore for what was at the time the country's largest stock and station agency, the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company Ltd.

Mr Clark said securing the building's new long-term tenants was ''good news for Oamaru''.

Moke director Keith Stevens, who started the company with daughter Sarah Jennings, said in autumn, once the new lift was installed, the company would establish storage space, an office, showrooms for each of the three brands under Moke, and design rooms.

Outdoor apparel brand Moke was complemented by newer label Nyx & Min, aimed at a younger market, and in the 2019 summer the company planned to launch Kakahu New Zealand, directed at the tourism market.

The growing company had outgrown its space at 1 Itchen St, which it had shared with William Bee General Merchants, run by sisters-in-law Mrs Jennings and Anneke Stevens.

Although he declined to comment on the length of the term of the company's lease, Mr Stevens said it would allow the company to grow.

''We hope to have product launches and range launches in time,'' he said.

''I think it's fair to say that we've put in too much energy and time to think that we're not going to be here in 10 years' time.

''Who knows what's going to happen to this area in 10 years' time and it may be in our interests to have a retail outlet store just as you come through the door. We haven't ruled anything out.

''We've taken a long-term lease, so we're not running away.''

Runway shows to release a new range or a new season were planned. Also, the retail space at William Bee would expand.

Mr Clark said the lift would be installed in a ''sympathetic'' way and while it was primarily intended to carry goods, it would allow people with mobility issues to access the building.

Installing the lift was a large part of a major rejuvenation of the building under way and a second stairway was also planned.

hamish.maclean@odt.co.nz

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