The first building on this site comprised a dwelling, store, post and telephone bureau. It was erected by Arney Robertson in early 1911 but sold to Charles Foley in July that year.
Post-Office records show the store being taken over by Mr Sugden in 1915. Ted Guy worked as a delivery boy for a short time, driving a horse and cart for the grocery firm of Sugdens. One of the stops on his delivery route was the home and camp of Don Buck. From 1919 until October 1921 there were three postmasters when Mrs Margaret Corey became postmistress and telephonist.
The store was then known as Corey and Thompsons. Mr and Mrs Thompson and Mrs Corey lived in the back of the house with the store at the front. In 1937 Mrs Margaret Corey’s salary as postmistress and telephonist was £72 per annum. She resigned in 1939 and the store was sold to Messrs Beale & Co. who retained ownership until 1987.
Various managers were engaged to run the store and post office business. By 1947 Mr Le Gros’ annual salary from NZ Post had risen to £167. Beales had a new shop built in approximately 1948 by a local Ranui builder – the previous Ponderosa building.
In May 1955 Mrs Elizabeth Erceg was appointed postmistress but, as she lived in Henderson, the post office hours had to be changed to match the times of public transport on which she relied. Mrs Margaret Benson was postmistress in 1957 but in March 1962, following an inspector’s report, she received a letter from the Chief Postmaster saying that he was disappointed to find that there had been no improvement in the standard of service provided – rather it had fallen. Mrs Benson took sick leave for nearly two months. In August of that year the post office agency shifted across the road to one of the new shops built by the Calverts.
The Ponderosa store, so named in the late 1980s, has seen a succession of managers and owners since the 1950s – Brown, Walker, Mawk, Deegan, McKinstry, Roberts, Willis, Cullen, Hill, Meiklejohn, Kahn – through to the current times. In 2004 the whole site was redeveloped into the current block containing several shops.
Rugged Determination, p77