At the dawn of the retail era, several big names were standing out amongst the dross in Sydney. Pitt Street was quickly becoming the place to be for all department stores, and David Jones was king. One of the apparent heirs to the throne was E. Way & Company. Originally a drapery claiming to the be the cheapest in Sydney (on Pitt Street? Yeah, right), E. Way was established as a department store in 1891. E. Way was acquired in 1955 by Farmers, which itself was acquired in 1961 by the Myer juggernaut.
These days, jewellery store Pandora occupies the tiny building that once featured a grand display to rival DJ’s. Look at how small (yet grand) the building is in comparison to the monstrous Westfield, and you get a sense of how easily satisfied shoppers were back then. It’s sad to think about how quickly these kinds of acquisitions and mergers can absolutely eliminate a brand, and E. Way is just another victim ‘honoured’ with an unreachable, leftover facade. It’s more a case of ‘it’s not worth bothering to take it down’ than ‘leave it up for history’s sake’. Isn’t it always the Way?
Remember Krispy Kreme? That donut (or doughnut) fad that took off in 2003 and crashed hard in…late 2003? For a good part of that year, everyone was talking about Krispy Kremes. Workplaces stocked them as treats, families bought them by the boxful. I knew a guy who would spend an hour in the car driving out to the Krispy Kreme at Liverpool to buy six boxes at a time because he loved them that much, and there was a time when that was the most convenient location. Krispy Kreme responded to the demand by increasing the number of stores, failing to realise that fads are fads because they don’t last. Exhibit A: Krispy Kreme.
Now a shadow of its former self, KK’s Australian subsidiary went into voluntary administration in late 2010, citing poor sales as the reason. Imagine how poor the sales must have been for it to only give up the game in 2010, a full seven years after the honeymoon was over. Even more mindblowing is the fact that the brand has been around since 1937. In any case, this site is an example of a location that no longer wanted doughnuts (or donuts) and voted with its feet…literally: Ugg boots are the wares being peddled here now.
Before KK kame along to korrupt konsumers with krappy konfectionery, Cue clothing ran the shop. Cue has been around since 1968, and since forging a relationship with Myer in 1970 hadn’t had as much need for self-contained shops. This one opened in 1976, but closed during the 1990s due to declining sales. That’s a better run that Krispy Kreme had. Cue’s executive director Justin Levis said in 2008 that the shop closed because the surrounding shops had become tacky bargain stores. Now that the ugg boot shop has moved in, this location has finally found its place in that dynasty.
In 1903, Albert and Joseph Grace established their flagship shop (flagshop?), ‘The Model Store’, in an 1896-built four-storey building on what was then George Street West (now Broadway). Dudes even constructed a private electricity plant to power the store. It took another 20 years before the twin store across Bay Street was built. In 1911, a theatre was constructed beneath the original building. Queen Elizabeth II visited the store in 1954. Grace Bros. set up their own removalist service from this building, now known as Grace Removals. The domes above the clocks were filled with water that operated the building’s hydraulic lifts.
But the party had to end sometime. Grace Bros. bailed on the site in 1992 and took their water with them, preferring to maintain their Pitt Street store as the new flagshop. The chain had been bought by Myer in 1983, but the name-change didn’t take effect until 2004. In 1998, the building was re-opened as the Broadway Shopping Centre, with a cinema complex on the top level. Did they forget they already had one downstairs?