Footwear firm to shut down after 100 years

HANNAH MCLEOD
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2013
Goodalls
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
ERA CLOSES: After more than 100 years putting shoes on Southlanders’ feet, Goodalls Footwear is closing down so owner Frank Goodall will have more time for gardening and fishing. 

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One of Southland's longest-running family businesses is closing - and southern feet might suffer for it.

Goodalls Footwear owner Frank Goodall is the third in his family to run the business in the past 103 years and has decided to call it a day.

He reckons he has probably sold more than a million pairs of shoes.

"It's hard to know how many, I've got no computing here, everything's done in my head and on paper. You've got to have all those new systems now, but I never got around to it," Mr Goodall said.

"I'm a bit old-fashioned that way."

The shop will close at the end of next month.

Goodalls Footwear had always been about good quality shoes, he said.

"If your feet aren't right, you won't go far."

He had seen many changes in manufacturing and styles. "There's always fashion changes, and changes in the level of quality," he said.

"Clarks' Nomads were huge, a very popular school shoe, as were Treks."

His most popular brands in recent years have been Ziera shoes, previously known as Kumfs, and Converse Chuck Taylors.

He remembers having to close the day after the 1984 floods caused massive damage across Invercargill, and the time someone smashed in the front window to grab a pair of Michael Jordan Nike sneakers about 25 years ago.

"We made sure we set the display a bit further back from the window after that," he said.

The thief was never caught.

Mr Goodall had seen a lot of footwear stores close, perhaps succumbing to online shopping and large chain stores.

"The big firms are monopolising the industry, and the small ones are getting pushed out I reckon."

He had decided to shut up shop because, at 71, he did not want to go into another three or four-year lease.

"I'd be 75 then," he said.

Mr Goodall plans to spend his retirement with more time in the garden, and "hopefully" a spot of fly-fishing.

"I'll be sad to see it go," he said.

When asked where he would go to buy his shoes now, Mr Goodall said with a chuckle: "I think I probably have enough pairs to see me out."

GOODALLS IN SOUTHLAND

Goodalls was opened in Winton in 1910 by Frank Goodall's grandfather Walter who died in the influenza epidemic in 1918.

Walter's wife, Mary, then ran the business until Mr Goodall's father, Reg, took over.

Reg ran the business until 1937 before moving to Orawia where he ran the general store until 1947, when he moved to Invercargill and opened Goodalls Footwear in Cambridge Place Arcade.

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Frank Goodall began working for his father in 1957. A second Goodalls shoe shop was opened in Esk St in 1962, with Frank taking over both shops in 1965.

He closed the Cambridge Place Arcade shop in 2010 and late next month he will close the Esk St store, ending an era. 


- The Southland Times

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