Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stationers a constant in changing Island Bay

Right in the heart of Island Bay's ever-changing central shopping area is one business that has stood the test of time. Island Bay Stationers, at 151 The Parade, has been operating since the early 1970s. The building itself is more than 100 years old. It was the first in a series of commercial buildings established around the intersection of The Parade and Medway St by the building firm J Odlin and Co from the early 1900s until the late 1920s. Previously used as a confectionery store and beauty salon, the premises has changed ownership several times. But since the 1970s it has remained a news agency and stationers under the ownership of Bill and Fay Far. Mr Far, who is of Chinese descent, came to New Zealand with his family in 1939. He helped his father operate a fruit market in Courtenay Place, before settling in Island Bay in 1951. He and his wife bought the business in 1973 and, according to Mrs Far, the business has remained virtually the same since. "We used to sell toys and gifts, but have always generally been a news agency," she said. "When I started I had a lot of children's books and still do." Although the customer base included people of all ages, there was no disputing the bestselling books. "Children's books are the most popular and they are my favourite. "The Robert Muchamore series has been a big seller. "The Enid Blyton books are older, but they are still very good sellers." Mrs Far said she had noticed significant changes in the nature of Island Bay shops. "Business is definitely less local now the supermarket has taken over. We used to have five greengrocer shops in this little area, four or five dairies, a butcher, an electrician, a boot shop and three draper shops. "We had everything," she said. Mrs Far said she had thought of selling the business, but said it was "never the right time because we have too much stock". She knows what she and her husband would like to do next. "At our age we wouldn't do anything. "We'd retire. We will - one day." - The Wellingtonian ONATHAN BASILE Last updated 10:04 08/04/2013 http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/local-papers/the-wellingtonian/8506900/Stationers-a-constant-in-changing-Island-Bay

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