After months of hard work and perseverance, the doors are finally open and trading has commenced.
Kindred Road’s flagship store, showroom and café, housed within the stunning Tribune complex, represents a completely new offering in Hawke’s Bay. Carefully designed luxury furniture, manufactured in small runs, sits alongside beautiful, contemporary homewares – with gastronomes Mitzi and Twinn running an onsite cafe serving nourishing salads, tasty sandwiches and homestyle baking.
It’s been a dream of founders Alice and Kris Sip to inhabit the large, airy space located at 201 Queen Street East since they were first approached by Tribune developers, Rob and Barb Hansen. And the historic corner site – once the newsroom and printing plant for the Herald Tribune newspaper –holds a special place in Alice’s heart.
“Two great-grandfathers on both my mother’s and father’s side used to work here,” says Alice. “My great-grandfather, Jim Ward, was a linotypist and another great-grandfather, Emmett McIvor, was a racing reporter. It’s quite amazing to now have a store in a spot that combines both lines of my heritage.”
Alice says she and Kris were drawn to the site – steeped in history and flooded with natural light – long before she knew a family connection existed. “We knew we wanted to combine a showroom and café after spending timing in both Toronto and the US, where Kris is from. We’d love going to grab a coffee at Starbucks within the Barnes and Noble bookstore, and then browse the shelves – it was a super relaxing thing to do. When we saw this spot at Tribune, we quickly realised it was the perfect place to capture the morning sun with a coffee in hand. Homewares and coffee seems like a match made in heaven to me, so we embarked on this journey and haven’t once looked back.”
With the success of their sister business, Flock – which does event styling and furniture hire – both Alice and Kris understand outstanding design, international trends and New Zealanders’ specific tastes. Their appraising eye is evident not only on the shop floor, where plush sofas, elegant occasional tables and stylish ceramics sit alongside wicker baskets, crockery, and a small selection of clothing, but in the exposed steel beams, archways and polished concrete floors. “I wanted it to feel earthy and natural, but with the clean monochromatic look of a modern harbourside apartment. Somehow we’ve ended up marrying all of the above! We think it’s fresh and young, while recognising that furniture is timeless – I particularly love the black of the windows, the brick peeking through, and the neutral colour palette to marry with our furniture and fabrics.”
In the café, breakfast and lunch bites are served with a steaming cup of locally roasted Hawthorne coffee, and Mitzi and Twinn’s popular scones are already a hit with the locals.
Alice reflects that after a difficult reno hampered by Covid-19 delays, supply shortages and relentless rain, it’s a huge thrill to be sharing the Kindred Road dream with locals and visitors alike. And, she notes, those coming into the region on holiday don’t need to worry – Kindred Road can arrange free delivery to any part of the country so that anyone, anywhere can have something unique and special in their homes.
“We source straight from makers – whether they are internationally or domestically based. This allows us to offer products that are different from other stores,” says Alice. “We’re also able to offer furniture at a better price than some because of our direct relationships. It’s important for us to bring something new to market, rather than saturate it with the same offerings as others – and we think visitors to our showroom or website will really see our vision and point of difference.”