Last of the old-school

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

A busi­ness that has op­er­ated on Tawa’s main street for more than a quar­ter of a cen­tury will close its doors soon, a vic­tim of ‘‘progress’’ and ware­house-sized com­peti­tors.

Dar­roch’s has the feel of an old­school hard­ware store, with its clut­tered aisles and dusty shelves.

Cus­tomers can leave with a key cut, a new rake, some car wax, a few screws and a milk jug shaped like a dog, should any of this be re­quired.

With Ra­dio New Zealand’s con­cert pro­gramme on in the back­ground, and a friendly 12-year-old cat, Ju­nior, sit­ting on top of the till, owner David Dar­roch cuts a con­tented fig­ure.

But not for much longer, he says, since the ‘‘un­eco­nomic’’ state of his busi­ness is forc­ing him to shut up shop.

Paint­ing on the front win­dows of the Main St store states every­thing is 15 per cent off – Mr Dar­roch just wants to sell all the stock as soon as he can.

‘‘I’ve been work­ing up to it for a while. The writ­ing’s been on the wall for some time and I prob­a­bly could have done it ear­lier.

‘‘I’ve seen a lot of other stores like mine close and while I’d rather not, we just can’t com­pete [against the big hard­ware out­lets].’’

Mr Dar­roch worked for an­other Tawa hard­ware busi­ness, Jar­den’s, for many years, be­fore branch­ing out him­self.

‘‘There were five Jar­den’s stores in Welling­ton and the Tawa one was the orig­i­nal and the base.

‘‘Even­tu­ally the store was sold to me and I shifted around here. And now, 25 years later, I’m clos­ing.’’

Mr Dar­roch is not bit­ter, hav­ing come to grips with his de­ci­sion some time ago. He says the whole environment has changed, with cus­tomers favour­ing big­ger, brighter stores with many brands to choose from.

‘‘Peo­ple will say, ‘It’s sad to see an old store like this clos­ing’, and ‘We will miss it’, but they have not used it. I don’t blame lack of sup­port lo­cally, the world has changed and peo­ple are not com­ing in to stores like these any more.

‘‘One thing I’ve no­ticed too is the qual­ity of tools – a few years ago it was about buy­ing qual­ity and look­ing af­ter it. Now, if some­thing’s bro­ken, you throw it away and buy a new one.’’

Mr Dar­roch doesn’t know what the fu­ture holds for him.

‘‘I’ll do some­thing, maybe get out there and get a job. I’m not go­ing to sit around at home.’’

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