Burnsco has been a familiar sight in Hamilton for more than 15 years, with its store backing onto Te Rapa Road. Few will have missed the big blue sign with the iconic red star just across from The Base.
But now Burnsco is on the move. Not very far, actually. In fact, just across the road in Karewa Place. The massive building is more than 70 percent bigger than the old one, which is good news as the old store was bursting at the seams.
“We’ve expanded our product range hugely over the past five years and we’d got to the stage that we couldn’t physically fit any more new stock in. It was either new stock or customers but not both!” jokes Scott Linton, the manager.
Scott has seen Burnsco grow in Hamilton from the first day it opened in 2003. “We’d run a big special in the paper on electric cooler bins and the customers were queueing before the store opened. Only problem was that the coolers hadn’t arrived! Finally the truck from Auckland rolled into the carpark and it got hit by a swarm of customers. They were literally tearing the pallet wrapping off the cartons and taking two or three at a time into the store to pay for them. I called up our warehouse and told them to get another load to us that morning!”
That was the start of something special. Over the years Burnsco has become the go-to place in Waikato for boating, fishing, motorhome and outdoor gear. The new store takes it to a whole new dimension. Polished concrete floors and wide aisles chock full of ice bins, fishing tackle, Bluetooth speakers and water heaters. Everything you need to make that boat trip or RV journey that much better. LED spotlights, solar panels, lifejackets, toilet chemicals. chain, batteries, EPIRBs, fridges. You name it, this store has got it.
And if they don’t have it, they will get it for you. Burnsco prides itself on its service and part of this is knowing how to source unusual boating or RV gear. “With this new store, we’ll be able to stock so much more product, so hopefully we won’t have to order so much in specially for customers. But if we don’t stock it, we usually have a pretty good idea of where to get it,” says Scott.
He can say this because the Burnsco network of 15 stores has nearly 200 staff to call on, many of whom have decades’ of experience in selling boating and RV gear. It’s this sort of institutional knowledge that has kept Burnsco going strong for more than 135 years.
“We should be good for another 135 years”, says Bruce Macleod, Burnsco’s managing director of this 100 percent Kiwi-owned family business. “The fact that Kingsbeer Construction is a long-established family business was one of the things that drew us to Paul and Sue Kingsbeer when we were looking for a developer for our new premises. We share many of the same values. They did a great job delivering the building on time. In fact they were a couple of months early, but we couldn’t move at the peak of our season, so we had to wait until now.”
The new store has plenty of parking if you’ve got a motorhome, or are towing a boat or caravan, and the same friendly red shirts will be there to greet you. Get over to Karewa Place soon. You won’t be disappointed.