Ross and Jan Parry

Enjoying the fruits of their labour

  • DUNEDIN_ross-jan_web

    Ross and Jan Parry

Ross Parry says it was always his ambition to retire early so he could do other things. Put it down to good planning, skilled advice, plus much hard work along the way, when Ross reached the age of 53, that’s what he was able to do.

Ross and his wife Jan, live in Wanaka and certainly make the most of what the resort town – currently experiencing a property and tourist boom – has to offer. “I do a lot of skiing, mountain biking, running and play golf too. We both like exercise and outdoor activities so it’s a great place to be.”

The couple enjoys spending some of the winter months overseas and return for summer. “We are very lucky,” says Ross.

Ross has had a wide variety of work experience since he left school, aged 16, to work in the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Following that, he did a stint in the New Zealand Police Force before leaving to pursue his own investment properties.

In the work mix too is the time he and Jan spent as owner/operators for Four Square in Queenstown. Ross says a Four Square store is an excellent place to learn the ropes of running a supermarket “because you have to do everything yourself”.

He and Jan then progressed to Roslyn’s New World, then Garden’s New World in Dunedin. “We were there for 13 years and it was a very hands-on experience. We had a staff of 160; they were a great team. Our daughters, Olivia and Bianca worked with us for a number of years too, before they decided they didn’t want to be in the supermarket business. It’s interesting that both of our daughters are now back in that business in different ways.”

Barry O’Donnell, at Markhams Clarke Craw in Dunedin has been the director in charge of the Parry’s accounts ever since their time at Four Square. “What Markhams Clarke Craw offers is good old fashioned service,” says Ross. “I can contact Barry at any time. He’s very down to earth and approachable. He’s a great person to deal with. I know that if I can’t get hold of him, I’ll leave a message and he will phone me back as soon as he can.

“In the early days, when we had the Four Square he was really helpful with taxation advice, with the basic details of running a cash business, and helping us to understand stock controls. Then along the way too, he has helped with finance. Having someone to bounce ideas off has been really useful to us. I’ve also sent Barry many business referrals and clients over the years.”

Now Ross has retired – although he and Jan have business interests in commercial properties – he still has the need for Barry’s sound advice. In fact, a new generation of the Parry family goes to Barry, as well as fellow director Daniel Piebanga, for advice.

Ross explains, “Our oldest daughter and her husband are running a Four Square of their own now, so they in turn are using Markhams Clarke Craw as their accountants. They are very happy with the service they receive. It’s a continuation of where we left off and that is very important in business. They know our family business history, so it works out very well.”

In addition to his other interests, Ross acts as mentor for two Four Square owners and is there for both his daughters to bounce ideas as his other daughter works for Food Stuffs in the South Island. It would seem ‘grocery’ is in their blood.

Published Winter 2015.

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