Sharpe's! What a place. According to the Morwell Historical Society - * Sharpe's Drapery Store - Established in Commercial Road in 1924, ceased trading in 1984. I began work there in 1963, about mid-year I think. I spent some time in the Men's Wear Department, some in Haberdashery, but most of my time in the Ladies' Underwear Department. One of the jobs for all the Casuals on Saturday morning was to unload Mr. Sharpe's car when he arrived with new stock - especially shoes! Boxes and boxes of shoes which immediately went on sale for $2 a pair. Over the years I had numerous pairs of shoes from the Saturday morning arrivals! I'm sure some of the stock in the shop had been there since 1924!
This from the Morwell Historical Society newsletter of April 2009:
Latrobe Valley Express
18th May 1966
NEW-LOOK SHARPES CELEBRATE WITH
Over $120,000 has been spent by Mr. Norman Sharpe, proprietor of Sharpe’s Emporium, Morwell, in reconstruction and re-fitting of the department store in the last six years.
The latest renovations, which cost $40,000, have given the emporium situated in the heart of Morwell’s commercial world, a modern display window front plus extensive interior alterations.
To mark the “new look”, Sharpe’s are conducting a special opening day sale, commencing next Wednesday, May 25.
On the opening day the eldest of the Sharpe brothers, who helped establish the original Gippsland store at Sale 50 years ago, will be in attendance.
The Sale business, which was sold only eight years ago, preceded the Morwell store by nine years.
In the 41 years which have followed, Sharpes Emporium has progressed with the times.
“With the $120,000 I’ve spent in providing better facilities and display room since 1960 I could have bought all the land in Commercial road in 1925”, Mr Sharp recalls with a grin. In those days the price was around £5 per block.
He started in a small shop with one lad and a girl as assistants, eventually purchasing adjacent premises from a saddler and a grocer. Today the Emporium, which boasts a wide range of mercery at extremely competitive prices, employs a permanent staff of 45.
Mr. Sharp says he is able to provide the valley with bargain prices because of both a long association with the trade, and the fact that he is in daily contact with manufacturers and fashion houses.
He spends two days per week in Morwell, where the store is under the management of Mr. Albert Robinson. Mr Sharpe and his family were closely associated with a store in Northcote known as “The Beehive” and today is closely associated with Norman’s in Bourke Street Melbourne.
|Sharpe's Emporium, Morwell - 1970s|
At the end of my first year in the store I was offered a holiday position, so I worked full time for the six weeks of the school holidays. It may have been longer as I remember that if we had a job to go to we could leave school a couple of weeks earlier than the end of term.
|Previously Norman's Corner Stores, Bourke Street|
|Norman's Corner Stores, Bourke Street |
Scroll to page 61 of this document to read some interesting facts about Norman's Corner Stores as a Heritage Building.