Author(s): Jim Sullivan
The story of a department store which is a provincial icon - Arthur Barnett Ltd., one of Dunedin's oldest and most successful companies. It covers the modest beginnings and remarkable growth of the firm under the founder, Arthur Barnett - almost as much a showman as he was an astute businessman. For the first 70-odd years, under the Barnett family, staff and customers enjoyed all the traditions associated with a "family firm". In later decades the changes have been dramatic. Surviving the great fire of 1959, the decrease in Barnett familty involvement, the staving off of a northern takeover bid in the 1980's, an almost disastrous venture into running a nationwide chain, and emergence as a modern retail store and owner and operator of Meridian - one of New Zealand's finest shopping malls. Department stores had their own culture and staff stories in the book tell of times which are long-gone. Along the way the relationship between owners, staff, customers and the Otago community has ensured survival when almost all the rivals have fallen by the wayside. "One Hundred Years of Loyalty" is not only the story of this relationship, it also covers much New Zealand business and social history of the past century, as well as providing a glimpse of how retailing will be in this century.