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Wednesday, 24 April 2019 01:45 am

Bringing America to New Zealand on the shelves of US2U

Apr 12th, 2018 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

US2u owner Kevin Rakys.

A new American store in Johnsonville has Kiwis flocking to purchase products they may have only seen on the Internet or in movies.

Dr Pepper, Twinkies, and Coffee Crisps are as familiar to North Americans as Pineapple Lumps and chocolate fish are to New Zealanders.

US2U, which opened late last year, is the brainchild of Wellingtonian Kevin Rikys.

“We travel to the States a lot and were always bringing back products,” Rikys says.

“We own several liquor stores in the area and had this building so decided to set up a retail space after looking at the competition.”

Rikys says shoppers have included expat Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans who want products they can’t find in local supermarkets.

But Kiwis have been drawn in by the choice and variety of goods not readily available in New Zealand.

“American products are cool,” Rikys says.

“Aspiration branding is a big part of it.”

Kiwis are influenced by what they see on the Internet or TV.

“Take cooking shows or videos for example.

“Most of these are American and use American products such as Crisco.”

Baking is one of the store’s best-selling categories along with hot sauce and marinades.

The store carries over 200 types of hot sauce.

“If our container ships are late with an order, our shelves get stripped really fast,” Rikys says.

It takes three weeks or more for products to reach New Zealand, so the store only carries long-life products.

Rikys says they are careful which food manufacturers they buy from and will only purchase products made in the United States or Canada due to New Zealand’s strict import requirements.

“If we didn’t have reputable manufacturers, it would ruin our credibility.”

US2U carries over 2000 product lines sourced from about 20 grocery wholesalers in the US.

Rikys says the store has done little marketing aside from Facebook and word of mouth.

“We want to get the physical store and product right before we really start using social media.”

The business is turning a profit and adding new products all the time.

Rikys says their next big thing is the new diet Coke.

Curious customers are coming in all the time and asking for new items which he will then stock.

The store is at 139 Johnsonville Rd.


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