AUCKLAND'S 90th ANNIVERSARY
A BUSINESS BUILT ON QUALITY. It, lias frequently been said that, the New Zealand public, more than any in the Empire, is one of discrimination in its buying —quality is tho first consideration. With a firm belief in the slogan "Quality makes friends," Messrs. Wingate and Co., Ltd., of Auckland, have gradually built up what is now one of the largest hardware businesses in that city, and the firm are justly proud of the fact that there is not a " shoddy " article in the shelves.
THE EARLY DAYS. In 1882 Messrs. Jas. Wingate, John Burns and C. C. Brown-Douglas started a hardware business in Fort Street, Auckland, under the style cf Wingate, Burns and Co. Mr. Wingate had been a lifetime ironmonger, for some years manager of the hardware department of W. Waring Taylor and Co., Wellington. In 1883 the rapid growth of the firm demanding new and larger premises, the partners moved to Holdship's Buildings in Customs Street (a site which was then on the waterfront), and carried on a successful business there for eight years. In 1891 this partnership was dissolved, Messrs. Burns and Brown-Douglas continuing in the same premises under tho name of John Burns and Co.
A NEW VENTURE AND A SETBACK. Mr. Wingate now formed a new partnership with Mr. M. M. McCallum (the pfesent chairman of directors) and Mr. James Wigg, both of whom had been on the staS of Wingate, Burns and Co. practically since the inception of that firm, Mr. McCallum being warehouse manager • and buyer and Mr./Wigg head traveller at the time of the dissolution of. partnership. Premises were secured in Lower Queen Street, opposite the site of the present G.P.0., and the new firm proceeded to put in a full stock of general, hardware. However, when about half of the new stock had arrived a. disastrous fire occurred in December, 1891, and the building was burned out from roof to cellar. Much of the stock was totally destroyed, and, as the insurances were far from adequate, the infant firm made a serious loss, losing half its capital. ; . GRIT AND DETERMINATION WIN THROUGH. Nothing daunted by this serious setback, the three partners worked strenuously in the temporary premises whither the salvage was removed, and arriving shipments were opened up. The new warehouse was immediately commenced, and a. few months saw, rising Phoenix-like from the ashes, the building which was destined to make a name in the hardware history of the city, for the partners had not long to wait before they saw firmly established a successful and profitable business. The firm was now rapidly growing and a staff of travellers kept busy calling on stores and builders in both town and country. A large iron store was built in Little Queen Street, which was later (in 1906) replaced by a four-storey brick warehouse, 9C>ft. x 120 ft., running through from Little Queen Street to Albert* Street. This extra accommodation enabled the firm to handle large stocks of agricultural implements and many lines which lack of space had heretofore not permitted. A CHANCE OF CONSTITUTION. In 1897 Mr. Wingate passed on, and the business was carried on by the remaining partners until 1903, when the concern was formed into a limited liability company, tho shares all being held by the families of Wingate, McCallum and Wigg. In 1907 Mr. F. J. Wrigley, who had been in the hardware business in Hawera, bought a part of Mr. Wigg's holding and joined the directorate. In 1911 ill-health necessitated the retirement of Mr. McCallum from the active management (but he retained his seat as chairman of directors) and Mr. Wrigley was appointed managing director. Unfortunately, after a year of strenuous office, Mr. Wrigley's/health also gave, way, and he resigned, whereupon Mr. E. E. Wigg, a.brother of the original partner, was appointed managing director, which position ho still holds. Mr. Wigg had been with tho company as buyer and assistant manager sinco 1904,
rru v • FURTHER ENLARGEMENT. that farther n T* a V j Fy B °und position, and it was soon seen that further additions inust be mado to the premises in order to copo with the ever-increasing busmess that offered. To this end a nurchase was made of a property in Beach Road, where a building was crclted to house steel, girder, 3 , etc. The fiim now occupies about two acres of floor space and the fine country connection together w ith the builders' and retail department, combine to place, Win gates among the first hardware con cerns in the Dominion. A feature of the retail business is the service offered the public by experts in poultry and bee culture, and prompt courteous attention in all departments. Catalgoues are issued dealing with many of the firms hnes, including implements, poultry supplies bco goods, fretwork, sports, etc and they do a largo business in wire-woven fencing, holding the New Zealand agency for a Canadian product " Invh - ciblo brand. Wingates have come through some very (strenuous times possiblv mora so than any other hardware houso in the Queen Citv, but have"now ; a very sound and flourishing business to reward the proprietors for their pluck and hard work. They have always borne a splendid name for clean fSBS#' 1 '- both with their customers and competitors, and have trulv framed their leputation for » Quality Hardware."
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AUCKLAND'S 90th ANNIVERSARY WINGATES., New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVII, Issue 20475, 29 January 1930
AUCKLAND'S 90th ANNIVERSARY WINGATES. New Zealand Herald, Volume LXVII, Issue 20475, 29 January 1930
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