SANDRA HARGREAVES WRITES -
President of Hamilton Rotary, 1957
My father was an unlikely recruit into the world of hardware. His passions were music and poetry; nevertheless he was the proprietor from 1954 to 1974, including 14 years after Reilly’s death.
The hardware store entered a new phase when Dad became a founding member of Mitre-10. This enabled the participating hardware stores much greater buying power at a time when competition was increasing and affecting sales. Dad received an award from the group for his work, and was very proud of what had been achieved.
Finally, in 1974, the time came when Dad needed to retire. Both daughters had trained as teachers and there was no family member to help him as he had helped his father. The business was bought by long-term employee Noel Herbert, who changed its name to Hamilton Hardware. Noel greatly modernised the shop, introducing self service and check outs. Pre-packaged items had become the way forward. The days of weighing nails were past!
The retail genes seem to have disappeared in the generations that followed. However, Dad's great love of music has been born again in his grandsons. Alexander Hargreaves is an opera singer and director, currently working in Sydney, while Stefan Hargreaves is an academic music master and assistant house master at Tonbridge School in the UK.
It is a blessing of our times that these young men have been able to follow their passions.
not long after the earthquake