Last of the old-school
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.’’