Whitestone work finished on budget

Whitestone Cheese chief executive Simon Berry, standing on top of the maturation rooms in...
Whitestone Cheese chief executive Simon Berry, standing on top of the maturation rooms in Whitestone’s new extension, speaks to guests at yesterday’s opening. Photo: Shannon Gillies
About 100 people gathered at the Whitestone Cheese premises on Humber St yesterday to mark the plant’s new extension and tour circuit.

The development on the site began in October last year and company chief executive Simon Berry said the project had come in on time and budget.

There was additional work, as the decision was made to create new office space for the administration team, he said, but  money had been put aside for unexpected circumstances so despite the late call the project still came in  where it needed to be.

He chose not to release the detail of the project cost.

At yesterday’s opening, he had feelings of relief and excitment.

He said there were no major obstacles during the 12-month construction and the statement the factory extension sent the community was that there was longevity in the company.

"It’s an investment in the people in the community."

Wife Annabel Berry said the best part of the project was how well it was supported by local tradespeople who had worked under "a lot of pressure".

The company bought the property next door to it. which enabled the creation of 1100sq m of space for packing rooms, storage, a maturation space, a tourist gantry for visitors and more jobs "as required".

The company was founded in 1987 during the economic downturn, originally  in a converted garage.

The founders are Simon’s parents Bob and Sue.

Bob spoke to the crowd, saying   the company had had trouble working out just how much space it needed, but he believed this time  it may be  right.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher  said it was encouraging to see a local company do so well and be recognised nationally.

"It’s the benefit of a family owned business that has such strong roots in the community."

He acknowledged there were difficulties for businesses operating in Oamaru when it came to the logistics of getting their product  exported overseas or even just to Wellington, but he said what businesses got from Oamaru was loyal people willing to help companies grow.

The company employs "70 plus" people.


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