Almost A Century in Threads: The Remarkable Journey of Gerard & Sue Walker and Stewart's Menswear in Mullumbimby
In the heart of Mullumbimby, where the soul of the town resonates in its small businesses, lies a gem that has been sparkling for nearly a century—Stewart's Menswear. At the helm of this historic enterprise are Gerard and Sue Walker, pillars of the community whose love for their business and patrons paints an extraordinary portrait of longevity, adaptability, and an unwavering spirit.
The Seeds of a Legacy
For Gerard Walker, this journey began 44 years ago, a youthful tale intertwined with the history of Stewart's. Imagine a 17-year-old Gerard, fresh off a fitter and turner course, his dreams hanging in the balance after countless job applications and interviews led to no avail. It was a cold winter day, June 24, 1980, when fate—and a mother's intuition—stepped in. With a word from his mother and a direct, no-fuss "when can you start?" from the store's then-owner, Gerard found his calling, and what a magnificent calling it has been.
Lessons from the Past
Working under the original proprietor, Gerard soaked up priceless lessons on customer service and business ethics, even as he trudged through three-hour cleaning stints and lifted 60-kilo boxes. These arduous tasks shaped the character of a man who now looks forward to each day, excited by the variety of customers walking through the doors.
Mastering the Craft
When you walk into Stewart's, you aren't just shopping for clothes; you're embarking on a stylistic journey guided by a seasoned curator. Gerard helps you find the perfect fit—literally and metaphorically. His approach is as dynamic as the town itself, reflecting Mullumbimby's eclectic character through the range of options available at the store.
The Heart of the Business
Beside every great man is a great woman, and Sue Walker is no exception. As Gerard navigated the often-tricky landscape of fashion retailing, Sue has been his rock, balancing business and family with finesse.
Turning Tides and Future Visions
Especially in the volatile landscape that COVID thrust upon us, Gerard and Sue have remained agile, standing up to larger suppliers who often neglect smaller businesses.
Three years ago, recognising the shifting sands of the retail landscape, Gerard and Sue Walker took a monumental step by launching an ecommerce website. Sue, the operational genius behind this online expansion, has been instrumental in creating a digital customer journey that resonates with the brand’s ethos.
Ecommerce and Beyond
Both Gerard and Sue have high hopes for this digital frontier, viewing it as a sustainable avenue for business growth. They look forward to seeing how this online chapter evolves, in harmony with their brick-and-mortar legacy.
As Mullumbimby readies itself for Stewart's 100-year celebrations, one thing is clear: Gerard and Sue Walker aren't just clothiers; they're weavers of community fabric, stitch by stitch, thread by thread, decade after glorious decade.
In 2029, Stewart's Menswear will celebrate a century—a timeline not just of a store, but of a family, a community, and an enduring legacy. Here's to many more years of style, substance, and Stewart’s.
*Written by Jules Dawson, an advocate for local businesses and business coaching expert. Passionate about helping business owners improve income, freedom, and culture within their organisations.*
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