Salisbury House

by Insiders Dunedin

Standing street side to 104 Bond you may not believe the hive of activity that exists behind closed doors. Hayden Cawte and Sheryl McPherson are the powerhouse business duo and couple behind this front, originally the pair found themselves in Dunedin to pursue Archaeology careers, a field that they have both completed postgraduate studies in, but soon found themselves enthralled by the Dunedin heritage scene.

One of Cawte and McPherson’s treasures is Salisbury House at 104 Bond Street, located in the developing warehouse precinct area this character building holds an impressive repertoire of surprises within. Salisbury is part of a greater vision of the pair to regenerate the historic heritage buildings of Dunedin, to return them to functioning and useable spaces. “We have amazing buildings [in Dunedin]” says McPherson “that have been constructed in a way that will never be done again.” The pair are dedicated to preserving this unique heritage, a cause evident in their approach to Salisbury House.

Salisbury House contains a variety of enterprises; on the top floor is Clay More Swords, a fencing club who have used the building before Cawte and McPherson inhabited it. Move down a level to find the office space Cawte and McPherson share with Asia Pacific Machinery, New Zealand Heritage Buildings, Faunal Solutions, Venture Partners and Venture Forestry. Throughout the rest of the building there is a rent-a-desk shared office, Immersion Marketing and a studio occupied by jewellery label Creeps and Violets.

It has only been three short years that these businesses have occupied the building. In 2010 Cawte and McPherson relocated to Dunedin permanently and began living in Salisbury in a loft style apartment just through the door from their office. On noticing that most business in the historic precinct area occurred upstairs, away from the bustle of the street front, McPherson was inspired to change this, so she began a retail venture on the ground floor of Salisbury. 

McPherson launched Salisbury Boutique at the end of 2010, a retail space committed to supporting emerging New Zealand labels of all disciplines including graphic design, fashion, jewellery and art. McPherson cites a personal desire to buy New Zealand made goods, but also to help small businesses succeed as reason to establish the store. “We’re really pro-business,” McPherson explains, “but how do you become somebody if you’re not given opportunities?” This ethos is sewn through the entire fabric of Salisbury House, evident in the diverse range of enterprises contained within. When people started seeing Salisbury Boutique as a cool space they began to see the potential of the building as a whole. Ever since the building has been bustling with businesses, brands and ideas.

Above all, Salisbury House offers something that Dunedin is renowned for; fostering a sense of community amongst likeminded business people. “The diversity of the industry within Salisbury is great to ground you and give you ideas you wouldn’t consider.”  Diversity serves to encourage collaboration and innovation, essential elements of building a successful brand.

The Dunedin warehouse precinct is fast becoming a stylish place-to-be, home to small businesses, studios, apartments and creatives. Cawte and McPherson are two with a passion to develop and provide this opportunity for Dunedin to grow into itself while preserving the elements that make it truly unique. 

Submitted by Megan Bond.

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