Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Shops that pass in the night 3

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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 in Ghuznee StThree 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.

Bellamys Bookshop - closing downDown 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.

Janet Dunn Fashion - Ghuznee StOn 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.

French Art Supplies shop - about to openFinally, 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.


At 8:30 pm, March 06, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd have felt a lot fonder of Bellamy's if they didn't stick their best stock in the window so it would fade and age.

Destroying irreplaceble volumes, one day at a time. Not such a great motto for a book shop.

I suspect the truth is more likely that the Arty Bees off Manners Mall will have been decimating their custom.

At 11:07 pm, March 06, 2006, Blogger Barry said...

Seeing the end of Bellamy's is a bit of a shock to the system - I've been wandering in there for years, every time I have been in Wellington. That means there are, what, three decent second hand bookshops in Wellington.

At 1:13 pm, March 08, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is the place called "Paris" (from memory) down Left Bank off Cuba, that used to be in Newtown' he has some great books esp some great Art books as I sold most of mine to him to help with the cost of setting up my gallery.

At 1:27 pm, March 08, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Hi Lorry,

I think it's "Pegasus", and yes, it does have an interesting selection. I like the whiteboard outside with new arrivals: I had been looking for an edition of Mallarmé's poems without luck, then saw it on their whiteboard and was able to snap it up.

At 8:31 am, March 10, 2006, Blogger Br3nda of coffee.geek.nz said...

bellamys staff (that lady) has always been rude to me and my look-alike twin sister too...

She always asks what i want when i come in, and tells me not to take too long browsing...

gees! no wonder they're going out of business.


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