95 Years of Tradition: Our 20-Year Journey with Stewart's Menswear

95 Years of Tradition: Our 20-Year Journey with Stewart's Menswear

In July 2024, Stewart’s Menswear is excited to celebrate two incredible milestones:
95 years of dedicated service to Mullumbimby and surrounds, and 20 years of ownership for us! 

To mark this occasion, we’re excited to invite you to a special month-long birthday bash. For 20 days in July 2024, we’re offering 20 incredible deals that you won’t want to miss!

Our Beginnings

Back in 1923 an enterprising local developer, Alf Barrett, built two shops on Burringbar Street Mullumbimby, then swapped those shops for a farm in Nimbin. Norman Stewart first opened his Men’s Mercer business, Stewart & Northeast, in one of those shops and went on to marry Alf’s daughter Audrey.  Audrey and her mother saw Mullumbimby’s potential so they bought the stores back in 1929 and thus Stewart’s Mercery was born, with Norman Stewart opening his own business, which had the added attraction of a billiards parlour at the back and a barber shop!!

An early black and white photo of Stewart's Menswear showing the Commercial Hotel next door (with no balconies) and F.I Ward emporium on the other side.

Norman and Audrey’s only son, Tom took over the business with his wife Jean in 1955. Interestingly Jean was the daughter of F.I. Ward who owned the Emporium next door.

The freehold for the property was given to Tom in 1968. The two shops were turned into one and then in 1980 they modernised the name to Stewart’s Menswear and their son, Bill Stewart took over the family business.

Continuing Traditions

We bought the business in 2004 when Bill decided to retire to care for his mother. Gerard had worked for 2 generations of the Stewart family for 25 years at this time and knew both the business and customers well, whilst I was new to the retail game. With a background in administration and Banking, my skills paired perfectly with Gerard’s retail experience.

Adapting and Evolving

Although Stewart’s Menswear is 95 years young, we constantly evolve to stay current and relevant in modern times. Across multiple generations, from Norman Stewart's founding vision to our current ownership, Stewart’s Menswear has demonstrated its ability to navigate the shifting tides of time by embracing change. Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic presented unprecedented challenges, prompting us to pivot and launch an online store to ensure continuity of service amidst lockdowns.

We've embraced the shift to online shopping which complements our brick-and-mortar presence in Mullumbimby by creating a digital experience that brings our personalised service to customers nationwide.

A heat map showing where our orders have been sent all over Australia.

Following the recent passing of the previous owner, Bill Stewart, we are reminded of the rich legacy upon which Stewart’s Menswear was built and the legacy he and the Stewart family leave behind. Our commitment now is to honour his memory and carry on the family business, steering it towards its centenary of service in 2029.

Community Involvement

As we celebrate our 20th year of owning Stewart's Menswear and the store's 95th anniversary, we reflect on the connection we have with our community in Mullumbimby. Living and working in a rural area like ours has shaped not only our business but also our lives. Born and raised in Mullumbimby, we are proud to be part of this close-knit community, and we feel a strong responsibility to give back to the people who have supported us over the years.

Gerard is the Vice President of the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, a unique and inclusive business chamber that integrates many volunteer community groups. The Chamber organises community events 2-3 times each year, and we are both actively involved in planning and volunteering at these events and I handle their social media promotion.

I am the treasurer of the Mullumbimby Agricultural Society, which organises the annual Mullumbimby Show, a major highlight on Mullumbimby's calendar. I am involved in sponsorship and planning, along with managing the social media accounts. Through these roles, we contribute to the economic development and promotion of our town, fostering a vibrant and thriving community for all residents.

Gerard’s involvement as the ground announcer for the Mullumbimby Giants Rugby League Football Club and volunteer referee for the Mullumbimby Touch Association shows our dedication to local sports. Supporting these clubs promotes physical fitness, teamwork, and provides healthy entertainment for community members of all ages, whether they are participants or spectators.

We are also proud to collaborate with the Mullumbimby Museum by dedicating a store window which has rotating displays curated by museum volunteers. This partnership helps attract visitors to the museum and highlights the rich history of our town.

As community leaders, we lead by example through our commitment to community and customer care. As a family-owned independent retailer in an increasingly digital age, we pride ourselves on providing personalised service and being actively involved in community groups and events.

In The Spotlight

Our commitment to providing exceptional customer service and quality products has been rewarded by both industry peers and customers alike. We were honoured to receive silver awards in the Retail Rockstar of the Year Category at the prestigious Roar Awards in both 2022 and 2023. Additionally, we earned recognition with a bronze award in the Brick & Mortar (Retail) Excellence Category at the Australian Rural Business Awards in 2023. Most Recently we have been named as finalists in the Fashion category of the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, in the Business Excellence Category of the 2024 Roar Awards, and in the Specialised Retail Small Business category of the Australian Women's Small Business Champion Awards.

A photo of Gerard and Sue at the Australian Small Business Champion Awards. Photo is superimposed with the other awards they have won over the past 2 years.

Meet the Team

Together we have over 65 years combined experience in the retail menswear space and we personally choose every item in our store. Gerard looks after front of shop and visual merchandising whilst I look after administration and marketing. With our junior staff member, Dallas joining us on Saturdays, our team is dedicated to providing a pleasant shopping experience.

We belong to a diverse and eclectic community, so days in the shop are never the same.   We strive to offer a welcoming environment which embraces customers from all walks of life, so much so that it is part of our Vision Statement:

Thank you!!

Our success has been built by filling a crucial gap in the market. In a world dominated by fast fashion and minimal customer service, we provide something unique, different, and special for customers who may feel overwhelmed in larger clothing stores where it is hard to find someone to help.

We’re grateful for the appreciation and support of our loyal customers, friends and family over the years. Thank you for being part of our journey and here’s to many more wonderful years together!

Come in and chat with us to experience the unique service the business was built on over the last 95 years. Gerard is known for his signature laugh and has been happily guiding customers towards their perfect outfit for over 45 years. If you can’t make in in-store, no problem! Just order online and we’ll take care of the rest.

Birthday Celebrations

Join us in July as we celebrate two decades of ownership and almost a century of service. For 20 days we’ll be offering exclusive deals on your favourite products. Follow us on Facebook for daily announcements to snag the best bargains.

Stewart's Menswear Follow Us on Facebook

Here's a Sneak Peak at what’s in store:

Day 1: $20.00 off Levis Jeans

Day 5: 20% off Belts

Day 10: 2 for $20.00 Men's 100% cotton t-shirts 

And many more fabulous deals!!

And that's not all!!

Two lucky shoppers will win a $100 Stewart's Menswear shopping voucher. Simply make any purchase and fill out your details to enter.

Not to forget our 95 year anniversary!! For the Month of July we are offering FREE shipping on all online orders over $95.00.

Find out more about our birthday month celebrations on our Facebook Event. Make sure you RSVP to be the first to hear the daily deal and remember to share with friends and family.

We invite you to share your favourite memories of Stewart’s Menswear in the blog comments or on our Facebook event page with the #StewartsMenswear95. We can’t wait to hear from you.



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