90 year old Jack Fannon is retiring after spending an astounding 73 years with the same menswear firm. Fannon ran the menswear store in Dargaville after inheriting it once his father passed.
“Jack was 17 and had a year in the business before spending three years in the army and air force based in New Zealand during World War II. He reluctantly returned to menswear after the war was over but now says he has no regrets.
He says tailoring was big business in those days and menswear was a specialty field. “Everyone had suits and you had to go to a menswear shop to even get a handkerchief.”
“I have kept it like an old menswear store. A lot of my clientele want to be served and have knowledge of what they are buying. I have really good local customers, but for the last six or eight years I have relied on outside customers from all over Northland.”
His business has had some lucky escapes. Major fires in 1961 and 2010 destroyed several nearby shops.
But it is the interaction with customers he’ll miss most when he retires on September 30.
“I’ve never been a hard-nosed businessman,” he says. “I’ve always tried to keep business friendly and personal.” His old-fashioned values extend to his business practices – there are no computers and stock is all counted manually.
“Once you put a person on a computer they just become a number,” he says.
The business will continue trading under its existing name in the ownership of Kate and Emma Smith.
Jack will stay on for a while to help the new owners get up to speed but has no plans to take things easy when he finally walks out the door. “I’m a hands-on type of guy and I’ve got lots of things to do.”
Curated from Stuff.co.nz.