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October 25, 2017

Sarah Twist and Karen Burge distinctly remember the moment they decided the take a leap of faith and open their fabulous lifestyle store Good Thing in their home suburb of Mount Albert.

The local friends had toyed with the idea for a while; there had been lots of discussions and a desire to see their local main street better reflect the wants of the local community.

“One day we just decided that it was time to stop talking and put the ideas into action. That was the decider, we looked at each other and said ‘ok, we are going to do this?’

“We love lifestyle stores, with a mix of homeware, gifts, clothing and covetable items and we felt certain that others were wishing for that too. And we felt confident that with our interests in art, design and all things gorgeous, we could pull together a great product offer.”

At that stage is was hard to buy even a birthday card in the Mount Albert Village and like many others Karen and Sarah found themselves heading to neighbouring suburbs every time they needed a gift or wanted to browse beautiful things.

The key first step was finding the right shop front and the pair drew up a wish list of premises, managing to secure the lease of a beautiful 1920s building at the top of their list.

In past lives it had served as a local store and after that been the home a Thai foods provisions store for more than 20 years. The upstairs and basement levels had accommodated a tshirt factory, a buddist sanctuary and a dentist.

Good Thing Concepts

With the premise in place the pair set themselves an ambitious deadline to get the store opened in three months; no mean feat with a dilapidated and run-down shop space to transform.

They transformed the store, removing layers of grime, curtains on the front windows, old carpet and lino, and dozens of random light fittings and fixtures that had been added in over the years. The orange shop front was repainted in charcoal and signage installed, while inside the walls were painted white and the pair sanded back the floors and painted the floors a light grey… ‘we were rolling on the paint on with the kids in the corner and I think we tag teamed so we could each get to soccer club photos,” laughs Karen.

Sarah & Karen

The store opened in September 2015 and has been everything the pair hoped it would be. “We have met so many wonderful people over the past two years and customers who have become friends.” The store offer has grown and evolved over the years, namely with the introduction of select lifestyle clothing lines, with Good Thing having the best Auckland offer from Melbourne-based brand Elk.

Good Thing sign

The Good Thing team now includes team members, Tracy and Jaimee, who have added their skills and personalities to the Good Thing offer. Tracy is the doyenne of the foraged hand tied floral displays and Jaimee’s hand written signage is often commented on.

As for Karen and Sarah, they are delighted their leap of faith has created a successful local business and a winning business partnership.

“We both feel very fortunate to have each other to share the highs and lows with,” says Sarah. “It is definitely more fun together and although we see each other almost every day, we still love coming to work and and sharing our ideas and visions for the business.”

Winners Albert Eden Awards


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