Wellington Province



Page 708

Messrs. Bing, Harris and Co.'s Buildings

Bing, Harris and Co. [Wolf Harris, James Wilson and Meyer Finker], Warehousemen and Manufacturers. Head office, High Street, Dunedin. Branches at Litchfield Street, Christchurch, and Dee Street, Invercargill. Wellington branch, corner of Victoria and Harbour Streets. Telephone 137; P.O. Box 283. Bankers, Union Bank of Australia [Limited], Financial manager, Mr. Stringer; warehouse manager, Mr. Lees. Cable address, `Rangolava.' Code, A.B.C., 4th Edition. London house, 6 Hansell Street, E.C. This important and rapidly expanding firm has been in existence for fully forty years, during which time its career has been marked by progress and undoubted success. Previous to its establishment, in or about the year 1852, Mr. Harris had been in Wellington for some years on his own account, and removing to Dunedin, he joined Mr. Bing. The united firm entered on a prosperous career as general merchants and importers. Commencing in what would now be considered a small way, Messrs. Bing and Harris persevered in those early days, and though opposition was not wanting, they soon stepped out beyond competition and became considerable importers. The firm has expanded with the development of the colony, and as the demand for goods steadily increased the amount of business transacted went on by leaps and bounds. Messrs. Bing, Harris and Co., notwithstanding the fact that they are large importers, believe in encouraging local industry in every possible manner. They have established considerable factories in Dunedin, adding the manufacture of goods, as they found these industries could be profitably conducted. The chief articles made by the firm consist of clothing, shirts, boots, hosiery, etc. The head office of this large firm in Dunedin is an imposing three-story building of stone, brick, iron and wood, having one hundred and twenty feet frontage to High Street, and containing little less than 20 000 square feet of floor space. The Wellington branch was established in 1888, in Panama Street, and as the accommodation soon proved altogether inadequate for the needs of a rapidly extending trade, the services of Mr. Thos. Turnbull, architect, were enlisted, and he was instructed to prepare plans and specifications for larger and more commodious premises; the result being the present imposing warehouse. Messrs. Norbury and Trevor, the successful tenderers, undertook the erection of this handsome structure, which is represented herein. The warehouse has three stories and a basement, and affords about 15 000 superficial feet; even this was found to be insufficient, and a single story of brick, containing about 3000 square feet extra, was built adjoining for the boot department. But this, again, turns out to be too small, and therefore the firm have already plans for increasing its dimensions in conformity with the main building - basement and two floors. On the basement are kept heavy goods in bulk, such as linoleums, floor-cloths, canvas, rugs, blankets and calicoes. The clothing, tweeds and Manchester departments are accommodated on the ground floor, at the end of which, on a raised platform, the offices for the managers and their clerks are situated. The first floor is devoted to the dress, silk and millinery department; while the second, or top floor, is devoted to the mercery, hosiery, haberdashery and fancy goods. The goods for the Wellington warehouse are imported direct from London, where Mr. Wolf Harris, the senior partner, is in charge. The total stock held by the firm in the colony is not less than 150 000 worth. At their various factories several hundreds of hands are employed, whose wages amount to a large sum per annum. The salaries for warehouse employees represent a total of 20 000 per annum. The registered brand, the `Arrow,' represented by three arrows in a circle is very popular throughout the colony. Messrs. Bing, Harris and Co. have twelve travellers regularly on the road, interviewing their customers in the cities, towns, and country districts. Mr. James Wilson, well-known all through New Zealand as a straightforward, level-headed, business man, resides in Dunedin, but makes periodical visits to the various warehouses of the firm. Mr. Meyer Finker is the resident partner in charge of the head office in Dunedin. The firm of Bing, Harris and Co. ranks with the leading soft goods houses of the Colony, and is very popular with the retailers. The firm is greatly respected by its employees, and it is seldom any of them leave, unless personally to enter into business.

Return to General Index

Shadows Homepage: