With Feldon Shelter rooftop tents, By Marsden surfboards, 4×4 gear, Kokako coffee and then some, it’s a one-stop shop for everything camping and outdoors.
It’s long been Beth Eastell and Joel Hedges’ dream to create an HQ like their new store West Supply in Auckland’s Waimauku. For six years, they’d been based in nearby Kumeu in a barn they turned into a workshop for their rooftop-tent brand Feldon Shelter, and it had its charms, but they had designs on a space in which to showcase everything they love about the outdoors and travelling the country — with fewer spiders and less dust.
How did you guys discover this rad spot? Beth: We looked at several buildings over the years — basically anything quirky, including a rubber-shoe warehouse and an old orchard building. We wanted to stay based out west, where we grew up, and when the iconic Waimauku Food Station became available, we knew it was the one. Looking past the decaying weatherboards and abandoned feel, we could visualise the cosy-cabin-meets-surf-shack it could become. The building had changed hands numerous times but never really found its groove, so we’re so stoked to be able to bring it back to life in all its heritage glory.
What did you want West Supply to be? Joel: Essentially, somewhere people get excited about visiting when they head out west. We’ve aimed to offer everything you need for a good time on the road: camping gear, 4×4 gear, our Feldon Shelter tents — you name it.
We couldn’t call West Supply ‘The home of good times’ without good coffee, so we teamed up with Kōkako to create our very own hole-in-the-wall in the space we’ve called West Supply Coffee. Being near Muriwai Beach, we knew we’d need good surfboards too, so Dan Marsden of By Marsden has set up his shaping bay in the shed out the back and now offers his hand-shaped boards and other surf essentials in store.
Beth: What you’ll find here is all the gear we’ve used on our six-year journey with rooftop living around the country. It’s essentially a massive packing list. And it’s good gear you can trust — all the brands we love. We’re proud of the quality we create at Feldon Shelter and want the other products we offer to reflect the same high standard.
What informed the aesthetic? Beth: I drew inspiration from both the building itself and its location. The wedge-shaped canopy that was added to the exterior in the 1970s led me to take notes from the American diners you find in the Pacific Northwest, and being on the road to the coast, I got excited about classic surf shops with their exposed beams, tongue-and-groove, natural light and plants. Because we’re also a camping and outdoors store, I wanted to create a cabin feel, and I drew from those you’d find tucked away in the snow-capped mountains of Canada.
Who helped bring the look to life? Joel: We’re a small team, so as with everything, family and friends were a huge part of it. My brother Adam Hedges can probably take 99% of the credit. We fired our dreams through to him and he made it happen — everything from the building work, cabinetry and tiling, to the steel-fabricated furniture and displays. Dan has also done an amazing job fitting out his shaping bay, and the team from Kōkako helped us nail our coffee corner.
Beth: Our family has taste, talent and a lot of patience. Over the 18 months we spent on the build, I ran every idea I had past them. Should it be inspired by Wes Anderson colours? What stain should the macrocarpa be? Should we plant cacti? We spent weekends thicknesing old rimu floorboards together, pulling thousands of lino staples out of the floor and sourcing all sorts of second-hand things from all over the show. We couldn’t have done it without their help.
What are some of your favourite aspects of the design? Joel: Our good buddy, graphic designer Jason Domancie, helped us with the external signage, along with Beth’s sister Veronica Eastell. She’s pretty darn talented with a brush and every bit of artwork and signage you see on the building was hand-painted by her. It took a lot more time and effort than modern signwriting methods, but the finish is bang on.
Beth: For me, it comes down to the details. I love the handcrafted surfboard hooks above the entryway, made by Adam from the same painstakingly recycled rimu floorboards used for the shelving, architraves and product labels throughout the store. There are details you’ll only discover if you take a few slow laps around the space, like the ‘West is best’ mosaic fireplace plinth and the vintage wall-mounted bottle opener — plus a few more I’ll keep under wraps for your first visit.