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New beginnings...Pinevale Trust member Mike Whale admires one of the newly renovated build ings the trust bought on Bridge St, Mataura. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

BY MARGARET PHILLIPS

New life is being breathed into Mataura’s Bridge St with the opening of three businesses.

The Pinevale Trust has bought the buildings on the south side of Bridge St, the town’s main retail area.

The buildings were owned by retired dentist Jack Phillips, who lives in the United States, and were unoccupied.

Pinevale Trust trustee Mike Whale said when he and his family moved to the area four years ago, they were keen to be involved in restoration.

Buying and renovating the buildings to house the three businesses – a second-hand furniture shop, a florist and a hairdresser – would give people a chance to start a business, Mr Whale said.

All three ventures had signed leases. The furniture store opened this week, he said.

“I just wanted to see business flourish.”

The trust realised the first two years could be “fairly tough” for businesses and was offering “reasonable” rates for the initial period.

Mr Whale said it was not difficult to find tenants.

“I hadn’t really started looking; it came together really quickly,” he said.

The renovation of the buildings was ongoing.

“They’ve been empty for quite a few years.”

The re-development had been well received by residents, Mr Whale said.

“People are getting pretty excited about it.”

Diane Ramage, of Mataura, said her second-hand furniture shop opened this week.

The furniture was restored before being sold, she said.

The idea of opening a shop came from her difficulty selling a refrigerator.

“I thought ‘why not open my own shop?’.”

“I thought ‘I can do this’,” she said.

As well as selling restored furniture she intended to make some herself.

Mataura Community Board chairman Alan Taylor said the three businesses were good news for the town.

“They’ve [the buildings] been empty for a long time,” Mr Taylor said.

The businesses would complement those already operating in

Mr Taylor said the housing market in the town was good.

“It’s good to see young families coming in and affording their own home,” he said.

“That’s making a difference.”