Above: The original Morningside Timber sawmill site back in 1948.
10 years later, what has happened to that store, and the people who worked there?
First a little history. CARTERS St Lukes sits on the original site of one of the founding elements of Carter Holt Harvey (CHH) and therefore CARTERS in the form of Morningside Timber and its sawmill (photo above).
St Lukes’ Branch Manager back in May 2008 was Brett Cribbens. After 17 years as Branch Manager and 30 years on the site, last year Brett moved into the position of Trade Sales Manager.
The new Branch Manager is Mario Santoro. Armed with experience at Mitre 10 and Trade Depot, Mario has brought “new ideas and enthusiasm” to St Lukes. “It’s a good mix,” says Brett today.
Although tucked away off the main drag, back in 2008 the St Lukes branch attracted “by far” the most foot traffic of all CARTERS stores in Auckland.
Does it still attract the most footfall?
“Yes it does,” says Brett today, adding that a large component of the site is still geared towards the trade call-in customer.
“CARTERS St Lukes has a proud history and our longevity and legacy makes us a trusted merchant for the trade.
“We’re proud of our role in supporting the trade in the Auckland region and the number of building projects we’ve been a part of. It’s really satisfying to partner with our customers and seeing their success. Long may it continue!”
The branch this year received a new Despatch Office on top of having expanded its Administration Office in 2017.
Below: Some of the Carters St Lukes team back in 2008 (L-R): Junior Matangaro; Brett Cribbens and Arvind Kishore.
How else has CARTERS St Lukes changed in the last 10 years? Is there a different set of customers these days?
Brett says: “Having been around for this length of time means I’ve seen generational change and younger builders are coming to the fore.
“It’s been interesting watching some start as an apprentice, then become licensed builders and then on to owning their own businesses.”
Over that time modern technology has also become a factor, he says Brett: “Phones have enabled a mobile office and building-specific apps have changed the landscape as well.
“CARTERS have embraced digital by offering an online portal, online E Road delivery systems and that all drives efficiency for our customers.
“We’ve optimised other services too thanks to technology and can really customise to a customer’s particular needs. There’s a lot of opportunity in that space and CARTERS will continue to develop capability here.
“One thing that has not changed,” says Brett Cribbens, “is the close relationship that exists between the staff and customers.”
In this respect there are a number of people on the team who have celebrated a lot of years with CARTERS and the St Lukes Branch.
These long servers include Brett Cribbens himself, who says the time “has flown by”; Jeff Hieatt (also 30 years at the branch); and Arvind Kishore (10+ years), all of whom were there when we visited the Morningside premises in May 2008.
Below: the same team today (L-R), now including Jeff Hieatt; Brett; Arvind; and Junior.