End of an era as city store closes

JONO GALUSZKA
Last updated 07:19 19/11/2012
Ralph Bare
MURRAY WILSON/Fairfax NZ
CLOSING TIME: Ralph Bare is shutting down his Palmerston North menswear store GQ in the new year.

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The end of an era in Palmerston North fashion retail is near, with Ralph Bare planning to close GQ Clothing.

Mr Bare, who has run GQ for 24 years, will shut up shop at the beginning of next year.

''I haven't got an exact date yet, but it won't be too long after New Year.''

The Broadway Ave business has been for sale since March, but Mr Bare said he recently crunched some numbers and it simply was not viable to keep trading.

''It's been the recession really. It's probably been the worst year I've had in business.''

While he was disappointed to not make it to a quarter of a century of trading, he said it was time to bow out. He had no plans yet, but was too young to retire.

''Maybe people will hear what's happening here and say 'I could use someone like that'. One door shuts and another door opens.''

He was keen to stay in the city, but Mr Bare said he could not guarantee he would continue to be a Palmerston North citizen.

''If there's work I really would like to do elsewhere, I will go.''

Mr Bare said he started in what he called ''the rag trade'' in 1972 as a sales rep for a fashion company, before founding GQ in 1988.

He said the fashion trade had changed remarkably over the years, with profits squeezed by large Australian chains.

''They're all getting stuff out of China, but aren't giving customers the benefit of it.''

Mr Bare has been an advocate for various causes in Palmerston North over the years, and said it was about getting to know the city.

''That community work takes you closer to the heart of the city.''

He would continue to paint and write, and was considering writing a book from all the scrapbooking he had done over the years.

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- Manawatu Standard

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