Memphis Belle – values first

24 Sep

Update 3 March 2011: The Memphis Belle is a total write off following the 22 Feb 2011 earthquake.  The pharmacist from next door told me that Shane survived.  Tragically, the lovely good-sort Natasha at Wicks Fish (another neighbouring business) and her customer were killed.

Original article September 2010:

Shane Tatum of Memphis Belle pizzeria in Linwood is living the life he loves.  The eccentric decor of the Worcester St eatery gives a hint of the “old soul” who dwells within.  Jam-packed with World War II and related memorabilia, the shop is a delightful experience that money could not buy.

Shane’s Old World approach to business shows up in many other ways.  There is no EFTPOS and absolutely no advertising.  People driving past in the evening would barely be aware that the shop was open.  Custom at the Memphis Belle is 100% driven by word-of-mouth.

Shane’s values extend to baking his own artisan bread and selling it direct to customers at the Riccarton House (Deans Bush) market.  The surplus is distributed by bicycle to elderly ladies in the Linwood neighbourhood.

Even a bad hit from the earthquake did not stop the Memphis Belle.  Shane was in early morning bakery mode when the quake hit.  The roof caved in on him, but he escaped and body-rolled down the bouncing stairs to find the front door jammed by the movement.  He delicately timed his exit between waves, and quickly shut the door as the front windows bowed alarmingly, demonstrating the part the closed door was playing in holding the building together.

“I just burst out laughing, it felt good to be alive,” he said of his arrival on the street.

With several enormous tarpaulins doing duty as a temporary roof, a structural engineer passed the building, including the chemist next door, safe for business.  Which was good, otherwise I would not have heard this yarn from Shane when I stopped by for his unique German pizza last night.

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