M. GEORGE WINDER'S NEW PREMISES. CORNER CUBA AND MANNERS STREETS.
GROWTH OF A BIG BUSINESS. ] riIHE thousands who pass daily what has come to be known as "Winder's Corner," where Cuba-street and Mannersstreet, two of the busiest thoroughfares in the city of Wellington, meet, will, no doubt, have wondered at the change which has taken place. From a comparatively small shop there has arisen a most imposing modern building of five floors, costing £20,000, a pile that would be conspicuous in any of the great cities of the Homeland or Australia. Winder's Corner it was before, and Winder's Comer it will now remain for all time, for the new building has about it an air of permanency that, no matter who may own it in the future, will enforce attention and serve the useful purpose of a landmark and a point of direction. The growth of this undertaking has been commercially romantic. Mr. George Winder, who is head of the house bearing his name, began business in a quite humble way less than twenty years ago. First he came out to Wellington a young man— a draper, in fact: but, like a true pioneer colonist, he took the first thing that offered. This was a post of accountant in the office of Mr. J. Young, an old-established ironmonger, in Willisstreet. By closa attention to business he got a fair grip of the ironmongery trade. There was not much competition in those days, and profits were reasonably large, even if at times there were then, as now, periods of commercial dulness. As a matter of fact, the period when Mr. Winder arrived in Wellington was one of these. "Slump" was not ii current use so much in those days as now; but the causes and the effects were much about the same. At any rate, the time was not the best that Mr. Winder could have chosen for his landing in New Zealand. But the circumstances were just such as are required to bring out the best, that is in a man— to test him as to whether he will sink or strike out for solid ground. Mr. Winder , struck out. His solid ground is represented by the magnificent building under review, and his enormous and rapidly growing business THE BEGINNING. From managing a shop in Cuba-street for Mr. Young, Mr. Winder started 19 years ago on his own account, on the site of his present new premises. He began with htmself and a boy. The shop was leased, and the rent was then 30s a week. Before he purchased the freehold Mr. Wander had the doubtful privilege of paying £6 10s a week for precisely the same accommodation, with no improvements that he did not himself effect at his own charges. He had a practical lesson in the doctrine of unearned increment. He learned as he worked, and he paid fairly dearly for his lessons. So far as could be gathered by a representative of The Post from Mr. Winder, he owes nothing to sheer luck. He had certain business theories at the outset. Ihose he put into practice when he became his own employer. They panned out very well indeed; but tho ore required a considerable amount of hard " dollying " before even a " colour " was obtained. He worked a tough lode, and some of the material was reiractory. In ; other words, Mr. Winder learned first to know his public, next to know his public s wants, and, finally, how to meet those wants. He worked late and early, and kept his eye open for every chance of giving his customers what they wanted at as law a margin of profit as was consistent with financial safety. His tin-cr-ies have succeeded beyond his expectations. He sees no reason for their abandonment to-day, after nearly twenty years' trial. THE BUILDING. But to the new building. This, as has been said, is a most imposing stiucture, viewed not only from without, but from within ; for when one comes to think of it a building designed to carry a large ironmongery stock must have no gingerbread supports about it. As a matter of fact, the floors of many warehouses of this kind sag in a most alarming fashion at times ; but the stock being constantly moved relieves the pressure and also the anxiety of the uninitiated visitor. In Mr. Winder's new building ■the floors are designed to carry three times- more weight than .fche-j. are ever.
likely to carry. Massive cast iron columns and huge girders (often masked in wood) give an assuring idea of the strength of the stiucture. HEAVY GOODS. Beginning with the basement, which Is fully lighted round two sides, there are to be found stacks of nails in barrels, coils of fencing wire and other heavy goods for building and farm work. There is cart access to the doors of the basement, where the heaviest lines arc stored. Here a goods electric power lift begins and runs to the full height of the building, from ground to root. Above the basement is the retail department. Here are the thousand and j one things that one finds in an iron- ' monger's shop— from a cork&crew to a salamander, from a coal bucket to a dutch, oven, from a mop to a chafing dish. PRESENTATION WARE. ■ One window is devoted entirely to eil- ' verware, and it is most attractively displayed. How much such windows are ' the cause or the result of "pleasant lit- j tie ceremonies" which take the form of • the presentation of a piece of plate it is difficult to say. It is hard to deny, however, that the well-displayed silverware, unlike the flowers that bloom in , the spring, have something to do with the case. ■ Then there are windows devoted to ' tools, used by engineers, bricklayers, carpenters, moulders, and plasterers, in which the firm specialises ; other windows are devoted to hollow-ware, such . as basins, and buckets, and kitchen utensils ; yet another window is given I up to overmantels, fireplaces, fenders ; and still another to magnificient brass bedsteads, and rich carpets, luxurious curtains, and hangings occupy another i wiudow. There is great art in dressing a window, and the object of the artist is to make the goods sell themselves. In this Mr. Winder has been obviously highly successful. When one enters the shop and asks for, say, an egg poacher or a hot , plate lifter there is no waiting. The ' goods are displayed on counters in the centre of the shop. To each is attached a label bearing not only the private mark and price, but also a number corresponding to a drawer in the counter. The article is found at once. This j saves the time and patience of the customer and the time of two assistants.* It is Mr. Winder's own idea, and it is a money-saver and customer-retainer for the quickly-served customer lives to come another day. Builders' ironmongery, and domestic wares, and paints are kept on the ground floor for the most part, together with the drapery department. Here also are the offices. COSTLY CARPETS. On the first floor are the furniture and carpet showrooms. These are beautifully lighted, as is necessary, for ona wishes to see carpets in as good a light as possible. Mr. Winder claims to stock the finest and most costly products from Axminster looms that ever came to New Zealand. As each roll represents a value of £25 or thereabouts wholesale, it may be gathered that to make a big carpet display requires a good deal of capital. Mr. Winder has, however, besides rolls of carpet, many beautiful Indian and Turkish patterned rugs and skin rugs of a most luxurious texture. The furniture, like the carpets, was selected by Mrs. Winder, and is of English and colonial manufacture. The New Zcalanders have not j'-et developed a "colonial" style of furniture as the Americans have ; but their workmanship is of the very best, and does not suffer in comparison with the fine English fumed oak and Sheraton pieces which Mr. Winder exhibits. He has some very fine Kioto screens, in which the Japanese artists have cleverly treated their favourite subject, the wisteria. It is interesting in passing through the showrooms to notice tho legeud "sold" on many of the pieces. A LADY'S SELECTION. In the selection of the furniture do signs, Mrs. Winder hns shown much catholicity of taste. She has gathered examples that will meet with the ap- ■ proval of lovers of the "modern" m furniture, and those who have a fondness foi- more ornamentation in the form of fittings, carving, and turning, will *here find that their taste has not been ■ iost. eight of._ The-cejling of the.shpw-
room is in Canadian art stamped steel of rich design and lints. Another floor is devoted to mantelpieces and grates,. The woodwork in most of the sampbs under notice has been made in the Dominion, and does both designers and workmen the greatest credit. Furniture is stored here, too, also piles of travelling trunks in steel and wood, Saratogas and" hide portmanteaux, suggestive of long journeys by sea and land. All are so arranged as to afford customers the utmost facility in examination in daylight. Tho goods are well displayed. The next floor is given over to bulk storage of household goods, garden implements, and tools, and everything is most conveniently arranged for inspection and rapid handling of lines required for the shop and for the fulfilment of country orders, of which the firm has a, very large number to execute daily. The top floor is at present unoccupied. It is lighted on three sides and front above. It is, as are the other floors, 74ft by 84ft, and 12ft high. The lift* for both passengers and goods end here. I The floor is suitable for clubs or largfc gatherings, and will for tho preseul be reserved for such purposes. ROOM FOR A GARDEN. The roof is flat, and asbestos covered. It would form an ideal roof garden, for from it magnificent views of the city and harbour are afforded. At present there is a suggestion that something of the kind is contemplated, for ornamental trees and pUnts in green tubs are distributed round the walls. "One clay I may build a four-roomed cottage here," said Mr. Winder, jocularly, "and have a garden in the mid■die of the roof. They do that kind qf thing in America." THE WORKMANSHIP. The elevation of the new building, as seen from the Royal Oak corner, is most striking. It is in red-pressed brick with plaster facings in attractive designs. It has a frontage of 152 fee* and is 75 foet from pavement- to 1 coping stone. There are 17 plate-glass ' win* dows. The architects were Messrs. Penty and Blake, who worked on suggestions as to the internal arrangement* from Mr. Winder himself. The builders were Messrs. Martin HumeE and Snadden, who built the Wellington Tow* Hall, and Mr. Georgeson was ckrk-of-works. The iron-work was mad© at Mr. D. Robartson's foundry. The electr-io lifts were by Smith and Stevens, London, and were the best Mr. Windor could get ; they were supplied) by Mr. Moult, New Zealand agent. The electric lighting waff installed by Messrs* Andrews and Mantell. Mr. Max Kressi* made the silverware show cases, and fitted up tha window for the display of those wares, and Messrs. Jack and Co. laid the- roof. The painting and! glazing were carried out by Messrs. R. and E. Tingey. Mr. A. Doorey is doing the decorative panels, which run. afl round the lighted verandah, and is putting much work into what appears, to ha a most congenial task. LOCALLY-MADE GOODS. The new building is the third that Mr. Winder has put up in Wellington, and took sixteen months to complete, but it does not represent all the px^. mises owned by the firm. There are freehold and leasehold stores at the back extending towards Courtenay. place, also a building in Victoriaetreet, a shop in Cuba-street, and another shop on Lambton-quay. In fact, big ao the aggregate area available is, it is not big enough, as storage for roof iron and other goods has had to bc> obtained outside. The pay roll which Mr. Windor has to face weekly is a very couslderabls item of expenditure, in feesping with the magnitude of the under! aking There are 60 assistants, storemen, and heads of departments employed, and that constantly. Apart from the solidity which a business like Mr. Winder's imnarts to a growing city, there is to be 'considered the factor of employment which ii ne* ccs-sitates. Hero it is fitting to mention that in addition to his own staff .Air. Winder employs, or materially as. sists m the employment of, many persons engaged in manufacturing locaELv many articles which he cells, and which' the majority of people, are not awaxe are made, and ks w«JI nvade in N«w Zealand; 03- «b=ewfeerje, and for which! ■ftfe. Windto shovre^evjEsrv pojsible preTeren.ce.
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M. GEORGE WINDER'S NEW PREMISES. CORNER CUBA AND MANNERS STREETS., Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 100, 29 April 1909
M. GEORGE WINDER'S NEW PREMISES. CORNER CUBA AND MANNERS STREETS. Evening Post, Volume LXXVII, Issue 100, 29 April 1909
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