Michael Blackwell has passed away

Mike Blackwell with his wife Sarah McCallum at the the 150th anniversary of Blackwell's Department Store.
Mike Blackwell with his wife Sarah McCallum at the the 150th anniversary of Blackwell’s Department Store.

It is with much sorrow that we report Michael Blackwell passed away on the evening of Wednesday 17th May.

Michael joined the firm in 1988 after completing a BA degree at the University of Canterbury. Over the next 34 years, Michael helped to modernise the store with extensive refurbishment of the exterior and interior, introducing new office systems and new merchandise.

After his father David Blackwell retired in 1993, Michael in conjunction with his brother Andrew jointly ran the store as fifth generation directors of the family business.

Even the troubled times of the Global Financial Crisis and recovering from the trauma of the 2010 earthquakes couldn’t dampen Michael’s spirits. His cheerful banter and camaraderie will be missed by staff and customers alike.

A memorial service to celebrate Michael’s life will be held at a future date.

Read more about Michael’s involvement…

A fresh start for Kaiapoi

It’s exciting times for Kaiapoi with the stunning new Library opening their doors, new housing developments appearing before our eyes and lots of new faces on the streets and in the shops. There is a buzz in the air which is refreshing and invigorating for a community which has been through so much.

Blackwell’s is excited and proud to be part of this change and progression. It has been wonderful to welcome our neighbours, Coffee Culture, and to see the town coming alive again. As such, for the first time in 143 years we are opening our doors seven days a week for your shopping convenience.

WE ARE NOW OPEN SUNDAY’s from 11am to 3pm.

So make a day of it and join us on a Sunday when you can shop at your leisure and enjoy a coffee or lunch at Coffee Culture.

We look forward to seeing you soon.

> From the team at Blackwell’s

We are open!

The all new improved Blackwell’s Department Store is officially open. It’s the next big step in one of many we’ve already made, with more planned.

The new store features two new retail spaces, an upgrade to the surviving spaces from the old store, some wonderful tenants sharing the building with us, a coffee shop preparing to open on one corner, a nice new West entrance, and customer parking.

Our showroom spaces are full with new stock in all departments, including clothing, shoes, homeware, gifts, fishing & hunting, curtains, bedware, and carpets, so come visit us and check out the new store. We look forward to seeing you.

The all new Blackwell's Department Store in November 2013
The all new Blackwell’s Department Store in November 2013, image courtesy of Tonic Design

Winter windows

The new store has much better window display spaces, so we can feature the variety of items we have in stock for you. blackwells-window-displays-5 blackwells-window-displays-13

Winter update – keeping things warm

Like many in Kaiapoi, the last six months have kept us very busy, so it’s about time we posted an update here.

Our Winter stock is keeping many locals warm on the outside while the new Coffee Culture cafe is now open and warming everybody from the inside.

Keeping warm

knitwear-display woollens-display

Come in a check out our range of winter woollens and quality knitwear.

boot-display Jeans

Our Flashpoint boots are the perfect footwear for wet days, and of the wind is blowing through that hole in your jeans, come and see us for a great new pair.

There’s always more stuff to carry around in Winter so maybe a new bag would be just the thing. We have a great range of designs, colours and sizes. Add a new scarf and you’re set for the season.

Bags and scarves


Knitting yarns and wool

Knitting yarns are getting hard to find but not at Blackwells! We have a fantastic range of colours and yarn weight, so if you feel like a bit DIY knitting, we are the place to come to.

Knitting wools

Blackwell’s by night

The early sunsets were a great chance recently to get some shots of the new store at night, while the lights were still on.

The new front entrance of Blackwell's at night

September tour

We took our favourite website mates for a tour of the new building over the weekend. Here’s what we showed them.

From the West side the new entrance is looking good. The lift is in and the stairway to the first floor is operational.

The upstairs spaces are really looking good, with the gib work almost completed and carpet laid. We’ve leased one space and there is one excellent small office area on the South side and the Nor-west upstairs corner still available.

BlackwellsRebuild-7Sept13 (4)

The view from the upstairs corner office is great, looking out over the bridge and the Kaiapoi river.

Downstairs, the cafe area is going to be a great space for a coffee, and we can’t wait to start filling the new showroom with stock.


August update

With a hint of Spring in the air, it’s time for an update. Construction has been going well, and as the month ended the scaffolding started to be removed from around the outside of the building. It’s been quite exciting seeing the building skin revealed from behind the steel and boards.

Inside lots of gib has been going up and finished. We’ve also been looking at new stock for the upcoming season, taking the opportunity to top up departments that we’ve had to reduce back due to lack of space. Will be great to see the store filled up again and we can’t wait to show off the new stock in our new surroundings.

Thanks to the Mallinsons for sharing the third and fourth photos above too.

New windows going in

The new windows are going in on the top floor now. This is pretty cool, because it means the building will be weather-tight soon and we can begin to complete the inside.

The roof is on

It is such a relief to get the roof on, not just because with Winter here it’s great to have things water tight at last, but also because it’s such a milestone for us and the builders.

Now we can see the internal walls in being gibbed up and rooms start to take shape.

Autumn work

The long hot summer continued while the builders forged on with the re-build. Bushnell Builders crew are hard at work, making it happen in rain or shine.


First floor framing

The steel framing for the first floor and the beginning of the roof is going in now. The plan is to look for tenants for the first floor and it’s great see the spaces beginning to form up there.

It’s going to be pretty exciting to have tenants and other businesses working with us in the same building too. We’ve included a shot from the first floor so you can see what the view will look like for the lucky corner tenant.

We have a first floor

Re-build progress is steaming along, and now we have the beginnings of a first floor and an enclosed space downstairs. It’s all starting to look like a building.


First view from the first floor

With the first floor panels going in there was a chance to nip up and get the first view from the first floor today. Our Laura took these photos on her phone, along with an excellent panorama view of the bottom floor.