It survived two world wars, the Depression and several economic downturns, but the recession has proved too much for a 115-year-old Upper Hutt shopping institution.
Furniture store Hazelwoods went into liquidation this week with the loss of 10 jobs. It first opened its doors in October, 1894 selling groceries and general goods but began selling furniture in 1984 in Upper Hutt’s Queen St.
Company owner Michael Gibbs said the furniture industry had been hard hit in the past few years and the business could not survive a downturn in sales because of the recession. The company had employed many people over the years and there were lots of fond memories, he said. A liquidation sale in which all furniture will be sold to maximise the return to creditors and shareholders is expected next week in both the company’s Upper Hutt and Tawa stores. The Tawa store is also closing.
Well as a young fella I was trotted around Hazelwoods as my Mum looked in the haberdashery department at the latest patterns, before heading up to Evans to do the same.
I remember clearly how I hated it, all these woman with these big pattern books flicking through them, probably only akin to the sense of earnest appropriate to the Six O’Clock swill for the men of the same decade. It was torture for me, any chance to escape to the toy department hindered by my young age and a firm grip from mum. That era was probably Hazelwoods halycon period, a time from a bygone era of single car families, if you were lucky, and black and white Tvs, and not a lot of competition.
For a lot of Upper Hutt folk, this shop is their Maceys of New York, and has been a regular port of call.
A somewhat fading giant over the last couple of years, it certainly will be the end of an era, and I hate to say it, Upper Hutt has always had Hazelwoods, no longer, bit sad really, it will leave a large gap in Main Street to fill.
Recession, Credit crunch and Harvey Norman, you Aussie import, with your interest free loans have a lot to answer for……..