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New operator of New World Cromwell feels fortunate to serve his new community in the best part of the country

13 September 2023

Matthew Dobson, operator, New World Cromwell

A week into the job, Matthew Dobson, a second generation grocer and the new operator of New World Cromwell, feels lucky to call one of the most picturesque parts of the country his new home.

Matthew, 31, is the eldest of three and comes from a family of grocers and, like many second and third generation grocers, you could say supermarkets are a part of the Dobson family’s DNA. His parents, Bryan and Anne Dobson, have owned PAK’nSAVE Invercargill for 31 years, his sister Tanya is the store manager there, and his brother Jason owns New World Balclutha.

Matthew has moved to Cromwell, the heart of Central Otago, with partner Sophia and they’re excited to have been instantly welcomed into the small, friendly community.

He has fond memories of spending time in Alexandra, where his father was born, and where he and his grandmother would attend the annual Alexandra Blossom Festival.

“We’re very fortunate to call this beautiful part of the country our home, everyone has been very warm and welcoming,” Matthew says.

“We’re really excited about getting to know and serve our local community, we’re excited about the future, and we see ourselves here for many years to come.”

Matthew’s first foray into supermarkets was as a check out operator at PAK’nSAVE in Invercargill, and he’s has been working towards operating his own supermarket ever since.

“I’ve always known this is the direction I wanted to take,” Matthew says

“I’ve grown up around supermarkets my entire life, since I was six months old, and with my whole family being in it, it’s a regular topic of conversations at family gatherings.”

Matthew studied marketing and management at Otago University before getting straight back into working towards his goal. Over the last decade, he’s experienced first-hand what it takes to be in a job that’s 24/7, and worked his way up at PAK’nSAVE Invercargill, and then New World Centre City in Dunedin, from Grocery Manager to Store Manager.

Matthew says he’s grateful for the support and guidance he’s received from his family, as well as Foodstuffs South Island and its member stores, to make his long-held dream a reality.

“It’s involved a lot of long hours and hard graft, but it’s all been worth it,” Matthew says.

“This is my first store, and this has always been my big dream. I feel very lucky to be here and it’s a privelege to be in this position.”

For Matthew, the best part about the job is the people he works with and his customers.

“I just love working with people, getting in and rolling my sleeves up, and looking after our team members and customers,” he says.

When he’s not at work, Matthew will be out training and exploring all that Central Otago has to offer. As a multi-sport and triathlon enthusiast, he’s keen to make the most of the lakes and trails in his backyard as part of a gruelling training regimen for the Coast to Coast multisport event in February 2024, which sees athletes run, kayak and cycle their way from Kumara Beach on the West Coast to New Brighton Beach in Christchurch.

Matthew and Sophia are looking forward to getting involved in their community, and supporting local clubs and events in the near future.