Timeline 1934. Business is started by Len Suckling on 610 Columbo Street. 1948. Store Changes location to 627 Columbo Street. 2008- The present day. 1997. Len Retires, and John takes over. The Shoes Today Virtual Tour End the Show
The founder of the store, Len Suckling, started this business when he left school in 1934. It was always a separate business to the factory which was started by his grandfather John Suckling and his brother Nathaniel Suckling. Len Suckling retired in 1977 and his son took over.
The current owner is John Suckling (not the same one), so there have only been two owners.
Left: Previous Manager at a shoe exhibition in Australia. Right: Suckling Standing behind a crate of shoes.
When Len first started it, in 1934, the store was located at 610 Columbo Street ( now Deans suit hire) . However, in 1948, (so it is exactly 60 years since the new shop opened!) Len saw the opportunity to by 627 Columbo Street. This is still the location of the store today! It was very different though, and had little booths where you could try shoes on in private and ash trays so people could smoke! The Sucklings Factory was on Dundas street, Christchurch, at the sight of what is now Pack n’ Save. It closed down in the 80s. There are absolutely no other stores anywhere else, so Sucklings Shoe Store is certainly a piece of heritage!
Unloading Bay Shop window with poster advertising Monarchs Shoes (No Longer Sold) Men's shoes stock room today
When the store first opened, the major brands were mostly the brand Landmark and Monarch which were made in the Suckling Brothers factory on Dundas St. Those brands were lace ups which were mostly stitched leather soles with toe caps in what is called the oxford style. Back then the shoes were far more formal, and the average shoe size was around size seven. All the shoes were men's, but recently the business has started stocking women s’ shoes.
Nowadays there is a wider variety of shoes, ($367 dollar very good quality leather, Slip-ons, boots, and even shoes of kangaroo hide!
The shoes above are the closest to the shoes they originally sold.
The store today is very different. With a brand new look, roof, Woman’s dept and more, the place looks great. To compete with the modern chain stores, Suckling Shoes specialises in good-quality, hard-to-get footwear.
The new Woman’s dept. The large men’s dept. And, yes that’s me, in the store room! (thanks Martin, for the picture!) Some footwear from the new woman’s range. That’s one flash new roof and some funky lighting! The Woman’s shoes stock room, made specially for the new dept.
Bibliography Lots and lots of thanks to Martin, for showing me around the store. Thanks to John Suckling for letting me visit the store. Thank-you very much to the whole Sucklings Shoes! And lastly, Thanks to Danielle, for providing scafolding for me! Thanks to my mother for helping me edit. Information: About %90 from the Suckling shoe Store, from a visit there, and three e-mails. %10 from my interest because of living in the old house of one of the Sucklings.