Ron Spragg’s tenancy has been terminated by Progressive Enterprises, leaving him with no business to sell.
As the second forced shutdown in the block, it must be a concern to other small businesses in the Lynfield site, many of whom are reportedly on monthly tenancies instead of the more usual long term commercial leases. You may remember Patel’s dairy and Lotto shop that used to be on the end of the block. The site is now a parking lot and Countdown is the sole Lotto seller.
Small businesses usually look forward to being able to sell as a going concern and pick up a gain as a retirement nest egg after many years of long hours and stress. Ron’s business had been valued independently as being worth $300,000 -$400,000 – money that he will never see. He would have liked to sell and retire a few years back, but every potential buyer has been scared off by the proximity of the supermarket, since other Countdowns have started to include pharmacies. That’s a development that could not have been foreseen by Ron years ago.
Ron graduated in 1960 from a four-year pharmacist apprenticeship. “Back then,” he recalls, “they used to type the labels by hand, and they made everything, all the pills, medicines etc, from scratch. Virtually nothing was ready-made. Scripts were posted into the pricing office, and the clerk would then sit down and price everything from books. It’s all computerised now”.
Along with his brother, Ron headed to England for his O.E. “NZ qualifications were quite acceptable in the UK in those days”, Ron said, “but not anymore.” After two years Ron returned home, then in the early seventies bought his Lynfield pharmacy from Robert Irwin.
At the time Ron was renting in Oriana Ave, which was one of the very few streets in Lynfield that was built on. However, the rest of Lynfield was being developed by the Auckland Harbour Board and he could see long term potential in the area for his business, and as a place to live.
So, what now for Ron? Well, he looks at the positives. “The past seventeen years since Coundown has been here have definitely been good for business,” he says. “Lynfield has been a nice place to work, the community is lovely, and many of my customers have become friends.” Ron says he is ready for retirement but will keep his practicing license current for local relieving work.
When asked for comment, Adrian Walker, Countdown General Manager Property responded:
“We always aim to deliver the best shopping environment for our customers, and we’re very pleased to be finally starting to refurbish our Countdown Lynfield store, starting in the next month. It’s long overdue for a refresh. The refurbished store will have some exciting new features for our local customers, including a new in-store Countdown Pharmacy and a refreshed look more in line with our modern store design.”
It’s harder to wind up a pharmacy than you might imagine. Ron is especially concerned about customers who have repeat prescriptions and especially those that are outstanding if they don’t come in before the doors close for good on March 16th.
Ron Spragg and his team have faithfully served the community for nearly five decades and are a well-known and liked part of the community. Thank you, team, for the kindness and care you have given us over all those years.