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Blue sky thinking brings family business to Kerepehi

When Saito’s Head of Focus, Sarah Spencer, starts explaining what brought them to Hauraki District Council’s industrial park in Kerepehi, her enthusiasm for the move is infectious.

“After 35 years of doing business in Auckland, we knew it was time to look for a location that offered work life balance and sustainability. For our staff and business, Kerepehi is it”, she said. 

“On top of that”, added business founder and Sarah’s father, Gavin Hodder, “working with Rebecca and the Community Growth team at Hauraki District Council made the five year development process much smoother than I’ve experienced in larger cities, and that’s been a big plus.”

When he heard that Council’s approach is to roll out the red carpet, not the red tape, Gavin said that was a great way to describe what he had experienced.

“I can say that Council showed a desire to make businesses welcome, providing a point of contact to support us and make things happen. Rebecca and the team were always accessible and available, making sure we were speaking to the right people to get the right answers,” added Gavin.

“From Saito generating 90% of their own electricity; capturing water on site; using New Zealand made steel with a low carbon footprint for their build to buying land in Kerepehi to subdivide and build houses for co-ownership with their staff, this is the kind of business we love to welcome into our district”, said Community Development Advisor (Economic), Rebecca Jenks.

Saito is a family owned business, started 35 years ago by Gavin Hodder. Sarah’s first job for pocket money was stuffing envelopes. She now manages the company and her no nonsense; work smart, have fun and committ to sustainability approach shows in the new state of the art $4 million factory currently under construction.

“We’ve been impressed with Sarah and Gavin’s committment as a family business to the environment, their staff and our community. It’s a pleasure to work with businesses who bring such energy and drive to our district. And while Saito is one of the largest 100% New Zealand owned label and tags businesses, it’s their personal approach to their staff and community that make them such a great fit”, added Rebecca.

The now sold out Hauraki Park in Kerepehi is proving a hit with businesses looking for location and affordability, with easy transport routes to major cities within the golden triangle of Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

“We have everything we need on our doorstep and the locals have been so welcoming. Everyone we have spoken to has said come, come, come, bring your business here”, said Sarah.

“This new building will be like a spider web as we connect with the heart of Kerepehi and a multitude of local businesses. We can’t wait.”

Sarah added that they are currently recruiting for at least two roles – ideal openings for people local to the factory from the Hauraki District and Waikato region.

“Long-term job security and stability are central to these roles where you’ll learn on the job and become a specialist in your field at Saito. We can provide most training, but those who are mechanically minded, or have warehouse or supply chain experience will find the parallels helpful.”

The factory will be home to at least 10 staff once complete at the end of the year. Positions are available immediately though, so that any required training can get underway.

Saito is keen to hear from local folk who are looking for career opportunities and have a great attitude.

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