If you’ve been wondering whether to visit newly opened Commercial Bay or what to expect, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
With over a 100 retail outlets and eateries it may feel daunting to know who to visit first. We’ve put together a round-up of must-see retailers to get you started!
Some visitors to Commercial Bay might recognise the beautiful Honest Chocolat store from its quaint Matakana Village flagship location – where husband & wife duo Emily & Nico Bonnaud’s first set up their charming chocolate shop after outgrowing their Snells Beach garage, where they originally launched Honest Chocolat as a side project.
Their second location at Commercial Bay specialises in the same luxurious hand-crafted chocolates that this homegrown brand has become known for; a decadent range of bon bons, tablets, dairy free caramels and chocolate bars in flavours like Espresso Martini, Gin and Tonic, and Toasted Fennel Seed, all made from only ethically sourced, premium ingredients.
Ingredients are sourced locally wherever possible – the honey comes from Warkworth Honey Centre, and the macadamias from a farm near Waipu – while the cacao is organic, single origin and ethically sourced. No artificial flavours, preservatives or palm oil are used, and the range is entirely gluten and soy free. Butter and cream are also rarely used, making much of the range vegan friendly. All the more reason to treat yourself!
Grey Lynn favourite Tart Bakery has set up shop in Commercial Bay’s Harbour Eats, providing another location for its cult following to stock up on fresh baked vegan treats. Celebrated for its entirely plant-based, planet friendly menu, the bakery’s cabinets are overflowing with traditional bakery items like cream doughnuts, ‘mince and cheese’ pies, pastries and sandwiches during the day, and at night serves up gourmet vegan pizza by the slice.
Tart Bakery’s over-the-road neighbour, Wise Boys, has also joined the Commercial Bay line-up. Founded after brothers Tim and Luke ditched the corporate world to pursue their vision to provide Kiwis with truly sustainable and indulgent plant-based fast food, Wise Boys originally launched as a crowd-funded food truck offering in 2015. Tim and Luke’s hearty plant-based burgers and sustainable offering won the hearts of Kiwis and the boys haven’t looked back since, opening a standalone store in May 2019 and now, their latest location in Commercial Bay.
Using locally sourced ingredients, homemade patties and zero-waste fully compostable packaging, Wise Boys serves up mouthwatering burgers like the Crispy Fried Chick with original recipe crispy fried ‘chicken’ with a tangy slaw, cheese, pickles signature aioli and housemade sriracha mayo; and the ‘Dirty Boy’ with classic kidney and black bean patty, deep fried onion rings, smokey ‘bacon’, cheese, bbq sauce and signature garlic aioli.
Adding a touch of floral beauty to Harbour Eats is Blush, the adored florist that has become New Zealand’s go-to for fresh and modern bunches. Positioned at the entrance of Harbour Eats, you’ll smell it before you see it, before the fresh smell gives way to the flavours of Harbour Eats. Pick up a to-go bunch in Blush’s signature pink packaging or pick from a curated range of living plants, or chat to founder Kelly Karam about florals and styling for corporate events, weddings or gifting.
The celebrated healing balms, oils and other herbal concoctions of New Zealand brand Aotea are now within closer reach than ever, with the brand having opened its first bricks-and-mortar store within Commercial Bay. Founded by Great Barrier Island local Tama Toki, Aotea offers a range of entirely natural skincare products such as kawakawa balm, harakeke seed oil night cream, and manuka oil, all made with native flora sourced from the island. Taking inspiration from Rongoā Māori and scientific research into the actives of the flora, its products are healing and vitality supporting. Beyond its products, Aotea also pioneers several community initiatives including a scholarship that provides financial support to the Māori Youth in its community to attend the leading schools of New Zealand, and adheres to principles of tikanga Māori, translating to the belief in true sustainability. The brand believes that as Tangata Whenua, we are kaitiaki of the natural world and their resources, and as such employs this belief in all operations – including using a plant run on 100% renewable energy, never picking too much from any given plant and leaving enough honey in the hives for the bees for winter.
Kiwis heading out to explore our own backyard this winter would do well to pay a visit to premium New Zealand lifestyle clothing label Edmund Hillary’s Commercial Bay store. Founded by Sir Ed’s own descendants, the range is seasonless, durable and made from natural materials – often heritage fabrics. Inspired by the 1953 Everest Expedition, and Hillary’s Antarctic adventures, each piece combines style with function to create clothing that stands the test of time, no matter the adventure. Each purchase also helps to continue on Sir Ed’s visions and passion, with a percentage of each sale going to projects that help the people of Nepal, and outdoor youth initiatives.
Elle + Riley
Timeless and sustainable cashmere is what Elle + Riley specialises in, with each piece from this luxurious brand designed with the modern, individualistic and elegant wearer in mind. Using cashmere sourced from the natural habitat and surrounds of the Gobi desert, nestled in between the depths of inner Mongolia and borders of Northern China, an ethical approach is at the heart of everything that Elle + Riley stands for – from the treatment of its animals, which live free from hunger and thirst and are provided with large grazing spaces, proper facilities and a comfortable resting area; to the fair pay and working conditions of its workers. Likewise, quality is never overlooked – with only the finest raw materials selected and highly skilled textile and yarn spinners employed to produce the cashmere that is used in its garments.
Adored local brand twenty-seven names has made a new home on Commercial Bay’s Little Queen Street, alongside Elle + Riley. Founded by Rachel Easting and Anjali Burnett, who met at primary school, the pair went on to study art and fashion and eventually worked on small-scale projects before launching twenty-seven names – named as an ode to the 27 people involved in its launch. Proudly made in New Zealand since its inception, the brand’s values lie in a commitment to sustainability, ethical production and supporting local industry. Each garment is made with the utmost care,with full history on every item’s background – including where it was cut and made, along with the provenance of the fabric, lining and trims – cementing twenty-seven name as a truly transparent brand.