Shops that pass in the night 3
Following on from two earlier posts about small shops in the process of opening, closing or shifting, here are a few current examples. Like the previous ones, these are also in the vicinity of the Cuba St/Ghuznee St intersection, but in later posts I'll look a bit further afield.
Three Second Goldfish at 57 Ghuznee St is closing down this Saturday. This colourful specialist in kimonos and other Japanese artisan products started up three years ago, and after some time in the Wakefield Markets moved to Ghuznee St. It closed down for a while before, and the owner said that she did so in order to find time for other projects, but that she loved the shop so much she couldn't keep away. It does look like this is a permanent closure, but the online business will continue and it looks more like a lifestyle decision to move on, rather than going bust or being forced out by rising rents. In the meantime, it looks like there are some bargains to be had this week.
Down in Cuba Mall, Bellamys Bookshop is also closing. This is a pity, as it has been a long-standing fixture of Cuba St, and had a wonderful selection of books on art and Wellington history. I often prefer second-hand books to new ones, not just because of the price, but I like the thought of a book carrying the history of its previous readers.
I'm not sure I can agree with the owner's assertion that the downfall of their business is due to customers being driven away by increasing parking costs. According to recent foot traffic surveys, Cuba St has more pedestrians than ever, and neighbouring businesses seem to be doing alright. Also, I'm not sure that the core market for second-hand books in a bohemian part of town consists of people who drive in from the suburbs. But whatever the reason for its demise, it will be missed.
On a more positive note, a couple of new businesses are opening up in the area. Dunn Fashion has opened a retail outlet at 45 Ghuznee St, which became vacant when Triangle moved to Victoria St. If the clothes look a little theatrical, then that's because Janet Dunn is a Chapman Tripp Award-winning costume designer who, among other things, designed the costumes for the mind-bending Demeter's Dark Ride. Not all of her work is quite so Grand Guignol, though, and her specialty is turning vintage clothes into radically reconstructed contemporary fashion.
Finally, further down towards the unfashionable end of Ghuznee St, an art supplies store is opening up today next to everyone's favourite dark alley. This space has been empty for a while, ever since the place that brands itself "Wellington's cheapest internet café" (and thoroughly looks it) moved down the street. There's a well-established art and design supplies store just up the road on the corner of Victoria St, but the new place has an unusual point of difference: it's calling itself a "French Art Shop", complete with Tricoleur in the window and slogan "Vive la Révolution". I'm not sure whether this means that they will exlcusively stock paint, brushes and easels that have been made in France, or whether the proprietors are French, or whether they just think that it sounds arty, but in any case it should be worth a look.