Antiques business and premises for sale offers vintage opportunity to new owners
An established and highly successful antiques business in one of New Zealand’s foremost heirloom and heritage retailing
hubs has been placed on the market for sale by tender as a going concern.
BB French Limited in the Manawatu township of Sanson has been trading high-end antiques and decorative items for almost
a quarter of a century - making it an icon of the region’s antiques and collectables retailing scene.
Sanson and the neighbouring town of Bulls some five kilometres to the north are a magnet for antique and by-gone era
memorabilia collectors, and BB French Limited enjoys a loyal clientele – both local and nationwide.
The Sanson property sits at the apex of State Highway 1 and State Highway 3 - with State Highway 1 connecting Wellington
with the Central North Island, and State Highway 3 running between Palmerston North to the south and Whanganui and New
Plymouth to the north. The intersection has an average of some 14,780 vehicles driving past its front door daily.
Over the years, BB French Limited proprietors Beverly and Gavin Burling have made some 75 buying trips to France and the
UK – bringing back container loads of furniture, artworks, jewelry, ornaments, crockery, cutlery, furnishings, and
heritage bric-a-brac for sale in the shop. Additional stock has also been sourced from throughout New Zealand. The
couple have occupied the Sanson site for the past 24-years.
However, now the couple are making one last big sale – the BB French Limited business, together with the freehold land
and buildings comprising the retail premises and adjoining residence at 63 Dundas Road in Sanson are now being marketed
for sale by tender as a going concern through Bayleys Palmerston North, with tenders closing at 4pm on November 21.
Bayleys Palmerston North salespeople Michael Ford and Julia Pedley said BB French’s retail operation consisted of
approximately 370 square metres of showroom floorspace which has been extensively refurbished over the years and which
provide multiple display areas to accommodate a large quantity of antiques and decorative items.
Mr Ford said BB French’s retail premises was divided into nine distinctive display areas – allowing for the creation of
individually-themed rooms showcasing different historical periods, countries, and collections.
“The boutique and intimate nature of BB French Limited’s structural fit-out reflects the range and ambience of the
store’s historic and artifact pieces being showcased – so that customers can almost visualise items for sale in their
own homes rather than view pieces on display shelves,” he said.
“In addition, a purpose-built large enclosed outdoor courtyard allows for a range of high-quality outdoor statuary and
garden ornaments to be displayed for sale in a landscaped natural setting.”
A stylish three-bedroom/two-bathroom residential dwelling at the rear of the property was equally delightful and really
had to be viewed to be fully appreciated, he said. Providing approximately 220 square metres of immaculately presented
accommodation, the house comes with an inground swimming pool and private, secluded areas for outdoor relaxation and
The approximately 1,568 square metre property also benefits from a large free-standing triple garage with attached
workshop enabling the ample storage of stock.
Mr Ford said: “The BB French premises is believed to date back to the mid-1800s when it was used as the Manawatu County
Council’s offices. The building’s façade onto Dundas Road was altered in the 1930s/40s into its current art deco style,
with a front verandah added for street appeal. Again, the historic external features simply add to the overall customer
psyche and experience when visiting the shop.”
“The positioning of BB French’s retail format at the front of the building, with the residential portion at the rear
ensuring that the home enjoys a peaceful living environment – well protected from the high traffic volumes passing by
the shop doors.”
BB French runs its retail operations six days a week from 10am – 4.30pm, and the business also operates a workshop for
furniture restoration and repair work. Two goods vehicles are not included in the list of business chattels, but are
available for purchase by negotiation.
Ms Pedley said the BB French business typically held stock valued at between $50,000 - $70,000 at any one time –
extending up to $100,000 during the busy peak New year holiday season. Potential buyers could assess stock value from
the company’s inventory accounts, or base estimates on their own valuations.
“While the most likely owner of the new BB French business would have an interest and knowledge of antiques and
collectables, the running of the business can be learnt. Beverly and Gavin are willing to offer a transition period of
assistance in training and mentoring any new owner or owners,” she said.