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When John Brown Frame arrived in Dunedin from Scotland in 1880, starting his company J B Frame and Son at 211 Hanover Street, he put his foot down, and here he stayed, JB’s son Maxwell joining his father in the manufacture of boots and shoes, he in turn was joined by his sons, Peter and Jack, who established a small retail store next to the factory.
Now Peter’s sons Mike and Greg source and purchase stock and Jack’s son Murray is on the shop floor – the fourth generation.
You don’t often hear of a NZ-owned company with such enviable longevity.
“They reckon the 3rd generation usually buggers it” says Mike, not the case here, where, thanks to the Frame genes consistently throwing to the male side, Frames Shoes Store is actually into its fifth generation of shoe men: Greg’s son Adam and Mike’s son Tom, both IT graduates, are heavily involved in promoting and running the company’s upgraded website.
Shop manager Guy Milner is an adopted Frame, having been with them for 12 years, he is a vital cog in the business.
Never has a generation gap been so kindly bridged.
“The original version of the website was pretty old-school,” says Tom, a nice way of summing up the hours he and Adam have spent redesigning and upgrading the latest version, where you’ll find it easy to browse every available version of the style you’re after, as well as a size guide converting US to NZ sizes, preventing the heart-breaking experience of having something arrive just half a size too small and having to send it back.
“We have a very low percentage of returns" says Greg, who reckons men buy shoes when they need them, women buy shoes when they want them.
The benefit of good shoes being obvious, “there’s a reason podiatrists love women.”
With all four Frames in the frame, father’s sons set to shine in shoe succession, do they struggle working together? “It’s tricky communicating IT stuff,” says Adam. “Well, we dads know the product stuff,” returns Greg.
The demise of high street has never worried Frames.
They’ve always been off the beaten track anyway, a place where you won’t be served by a bored student who’d rather be anywhere else.
Frames Footwear, steadfastly attracting return customers by reason of quality and know-how, isn’t going anywhere.
And thanks to their new website, you don’t have to either.
Order your shoes online from the comfort of your bed, bath or desk and get free delivery anywhere in NZ: framesfootwear.co.nz