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Shelley McGregor On Moving a Business from Auckland to Mount Maunganui
6 March 2019
Shelley McGregor On Moving a Business from Auckland to Mount Maunganui

Header Image by Annie Lawler | Film On A Day

Shelley McGregor lived within a 10 sq/km block of East Auckland for 38 years. Howick was where she went to school, met her husband, started a family and ran two of their three family businesses.

So, when she and husband, Matt, decided to move their family to Mount Maunganui in 2018, it was a big decision. A lot had to fall into place to make their lifestyle dream a reality, but after their first business sold within a few months, and their house sold within three days of being put on the market, there was no looking back.

One year on, Shelley and Matt are putting their stamp on SureMount - the Auckland based business they transferred to the Bay - the kids are settling in nicely and the family is looking forward to moving into the dream home they are building in Mount Maunganui.

This is their story.

Can you give us a snapshot of your Auckland life? 

Three businesses meant we were busy, busy, busy!  After having our children (Brooke, now 15 and Keenan, now 11) I decided to retrain as yoga teacher. I saw there was a gap in the market for someone who specialised in pregnancy yoga, so I set about completing my teacher training, and then set up BumpYoga.  It caught on really fast and was really popular with local Mums. 

I went back and retrained in Pilates and set up a studio that taught yoga, Pilates, baby massage and barre classes.  I was teaching around 15 classes per week.  In amongst all of this, my husband and I bought the Speedy Signs franchise in East Tamaki. Although Matt and I worked together, there were some days when we sat down at 9pm and said, "what did you get up to today?"  

When did you  first start thinking about moving to Mount Maunganui? 

It was something we had always wanted to do.  Even before we were married,  we used to visit Matt’s parents who at the time had a holiday home here, and say, "one day we will move to the Mount".  We initially thought that would be once we retired, but clearly it all came sooner than that.

What was the catalyst for your move?

We were ready for a lifestyle change and decided that life was too short to keep doing the same old thing.  It was hard to make the decision knowing so many factors needed to align to make it happen.  We had to sell the businesses, the house, uproot the kids, find accommodation here…it was a daunting list. We decided to put our Speedy Signs business on the market – and if that sold, we would just make everything else happen.  As it turned out, we sold the business within a couple of months, and our house sold at auction after only being on the market for three days. Next thing we knew we were on our way! 

What was the transition process like for you as a family?

Our children were a big part of the decision making process.  Our son was keen to move but our teenage daughter, not so much.  We totally understood she didn’t want to leave friends, school and everything she had ever known but we knew it would be the best decision for our family long term.  

Once everything had sold we started the process of finding somewhere to live.  We were very lucky to have Matt’s Mum as our safety net.  As she was living at the Mount, she very kindly let us move in with her while we found our feet and found a local rental property.  We were lucky to find a lovely place on Rita Street in the middle of town where we could put down roots, get the kids sorted in school and decide what we were going to do next. We had bought a rental property at the Mount years earlier and we decided we would demolish it and build our family home in its spot.

Can you tell the story of finding the right business to run from Mount Mauganui?

We always knew that once we had settled, we wanted to be back in business for ourselves.  We had some pretty firm ideas of what we wanted: to buy an existing business that had no staff and no premises, but of course, these are pretty hard to find!  We looked for around eight months before we found the one we wanted.  We did look locally, but didn’t find a business that ticked all our boxes, so cast the net further and looked for a business that wasn’t based here, but could be relocated.  SureMount had always been an Auckland based business, but was internet based, so served New Zealand wide.

We relocated the stock from Auckland to a storage facility off Hewlett’s Road.  It was a massive job that involved moving  over 25 pallets of stock, but it was definitely worth it.  We love that we can work together from home.  It was a complete coincidence that the business had the word ‘Mount’ in it’s name!

How would you describe SureMount in a nutshell?  

SureMount is a technology bracket and mount supplier, so in a nutshell, we supply all types and sizes of TV brackets, AV projector brackets and speaker brackets nationwide.  We sell to individuals through our website (www.SureMount.co.nz), deal directly with the AV and electrical industry and wholesalers, and also supply hospitals, schools, universities and retirement villages.  We are really enjoying dealing with many different people, from different industries across the country.

What has Tauranga been like as a place to run a business so far?

We have been well received by the local companies we deal with.  They like knowing we are just around the corner and can get stock to them pronto if needed.  And obviously with importing goods, it makes it easy being so close to one of New Zealand's biggest ports.  For the customers based around the country (especially Auckland) who are used to getting their goods overnight, it has made no difference – we can still easily courier goods and they will receive them the next day.  We intend to get more involved with the local business community as we move forward.

What has surprised you about Tauranga?  

How welcoming everyone has been!  We were nervous as we had heard there was an ‘anti-Auckland sentiment’ around, but we have never encountered it.  Everyone has been more than helpful and friendly.

Initially there was a settling in period, especially for our daughter (who was Year 10 at the time) as it’s always harder to form circles and make new friends at that age. However, she has come through that and now has a really solid group of friends who she spends lots of time with both during and after school. She really wasn’t a fan of the move, but is thriving now. 

Our son has settled in well and has a wide variety of friends and interests.  He is enjoying local art classes and just hanging out with his new mates.  We feel that it’s a bit more ‘old school’ here. The kids are more likely to get out on their bikes and skateboards rather than being on their devices and that’s really refreshing. 

How has living in Tauranga changed your lifestyle?

Our lifestyle has changed for the better. All of the activities we did as a family in Auckland cost money; it was going to a movie, mini golf or bowling etc.  Now we are more likely to try one of the local walks or just hang out at the beach.  There is always something happening that you can go and watch, and more often than not, it’s free.  We love watching the surf carnivals, or the many races/triathlons that are on. We also love the Little Big Markets and the Friday night Gourmet Food Markets. But, my favourite thing to do is watch the cruise ships come and go at Pilot Bay – I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of that.

Where do you live?

The last piece in the puzzle for us will be moving into our new home. We began talking with a local building company when we first began contemplating moving down and they helped us design our dream family home.  The process is well underway and (fingers crossed) we will move in during May.  I think this will be the final step in us feeling like we belong here.  While renting a furnished home has made the move easy, we are looking forward to having our own things around us again.  It will be 15 or so months since we moved to the Mount when we get into our home so it will feel like Christmas as we discover all of the things we forgot we owned!

Any advice for other people considering running a business from Tauranga?

Just do it.  We are so glad we did.  It’s a scary decision to make, but then being in business is scary anyway. Obviously do your research, but know that there are lots of opportunities and growth in the city so if you have a business that can tap into that you won’t look back.  

What has moving to Tauranga meant:

For your career?   Moving here was never about ‘doing more’ or ‘being more’. It was about having some balance and living our lives without rushing and stressing. So while I don’t think it’s ‘advanced’ our career, it’s definitely met (and exceeded) our goals of what we wanted to achieve by making the move.

For your wellbeing?  We have a much more relaxed outlook and pace of life now. We spend more time outside and take the time to appreciate the little things.  Even though we are working, it does feel like we are on holiday all of the time. 

For your relationships?    Matt and I are both at home when the kids leave for school in the morning and we are here when they get home. We could never do that in Auckland.  Once the kids are off to school, Matt and I start the day with a walk either on the beach or around the streets – and take the work phone with us. I think we’ve easily added 10 years to our lives!  


Gets You Thinking Doesn't It?

No-one can tell you when you're ready for a change of lifestyle...but when you are, we'd love to have you in Tauranga!

1. Join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TaurangaWelcomesYou

2. Subscribe to our montly e-newsletter to receive stories just like this one about people who have already made the big move you are thinking of making. 

3. Have a story to share? We love sharing your sea-change or homecoming stories. Email me at kathryn@priorityone.co.nz to start a conversation.

Meet Kathryn Overall
Explore www.wishyouwereworkinghere.co.nz


Looking for work in Tauranga?

Send me your CV and a 100 word bio and we will send it out to local businesess who are on the lookout for good people. Priority One is not a recruitment agency, but as the economic development agency for the region we seek to make connections for people where we can. There is no charge for this service.

Email me at annie@priorityone.co.nz.

Annie Hill | Priority One
Communications/Project Manager

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