AUSTRALIAN COM MERCIAL HOUSES.
MATTHEW GOODE & COMPANY, LIMITED. A ROMANTIC BEGINNING. The story of the humble beginning of the big wholesale softgoods business of Matthew Goode and Co., Ltd., is another romantic chapter in the business history of Adelaide.
It is just a little oven a century since Mr. Matthew Goode, the founder of the firm of Matthew Goode & Co. Limited, was born at Leominster, in Herefordshire,
England. Apprenticed as a lad to the soft goods trade, he gained his early ex- perience as a draper with Messrs. Goode, Gainford, &. Co., of The Borough, London and with J. & C. Boyd, Limited, of Fri- day street, London, and a wealth cf old- world memories are recalled by the mere names of these old London firms. Realising that there was little prospect of advance- ment in England, Mr. Goode came to South Australia to join his brother, Mr. Charles Goode, in his small business at Kermode-street, North Adelaide. Neither of the young men dreamed that they were to be the founders of great wholesale warehouses and that one of them would be rewarded with a knighthood for his ser- vices in the cause of charity. Those days were far ahead, and it was uphill work for the brothers for many a long year. The foundation of their fortunes turned out io be a truck of boots and shoes which
they bought at a public auclion for the proverbial "mere song." They were of good quality, and they sold well. The energetic young salesman did not wait for their customers to como to them, but, like the "chapmen" of England, hawked their goods from door to door. Their business integrity and perseverance had its reward, and after a time they moved to Rundle street to premises adjacenl to those now occupied by Messrs. Charles Birks and Co. In 10 years from the time in which the brothers had entered into partnership they opened a wholesale busi- ness in Stephens place. This was of course, a wondorful advance on the little suburban shop in Kermode-street, and it was not long before further progress ceces- sitated another removal. In 1870, eight years after the establishment of the whole- sale business. It had outgrown the Ste- phens place warehouse, and the business was transferred to Grenfell street. In those days it was probably never contem- plated that the great wholesale softgoods warehouses of Adelaide would be congre- gated in one quarter, as so many of the Melbourne warehouses are in Flinders-lane. Yet this turned out to be the case, and years after one of the firm moved back to the original site in Stephens place again. Meanwhile, however, the Grenfell street business of Goode Bros. had grown at a surprising rate, and six years after its establishment considerable additions were made to the warehouse. In 1870 the part- nership of Goode Bros. was dissolved by mutual consent, and the firm of Matthew Goode & Co. took over the Grenfell-street premises, making large additions to them in the following year. In 1902 the lease of the Grenfell-street premises was dis- posed of, and the original site of the old
warehouse of Goode Bros, in Stephens- place was secured, and the new and up- to date warehouse was enlarged and altered to fit tbe needs of the great softgoods firm which had started on the self-same spot in a much smaller way 40 years ago. In that year it was decided to float the busi- ness into a Limited Company. Messrs. Ed- ward Francis Goode, Matthew Albert Goode, and H. J. Lavis being appointed to the directorate. After five years Mr. Samuel Henry Goode was elected in the place of Mr. R.J. Leavis, who resigned. The present directors, who have faith- fully followed the tradition of the firm whose watchword has always been '"Service" are Messrs. Edward Francis, Matthew Albert, and Arthur Hedley Goode. Mr. R. P. Goode is sec- retary. At Silk street, London E.C.2, that roar- ing hub of business, is the London branch, where for many years Mr. A. Tregenza was the London director. On his retire- ment Mr. H. P. Goode assumed control as London director, and the up-to-date fulfil- ment of all the London and Continental buying is a tribute to his management. The Stephens place warehouse is kept abreast of the latest London markets, and upstairs in the huge dress goods depart- ment way be seen novelties in weave and design which have not yet been handled by the retail shops. The seasons of warehouse folk are in direct contrast to those enjoyed, or otherwise. by the man in the street. They must aiways be ahead of their times, so that even now the ad-
vance showings for next year are on the water, and in a month or two the win- ter goods will be cleared out to make room for the summer requirements. Magnificent costumes, imported from the best English ami Continoniai houses, recall the beauties of the great mannequin shows, which have been attended by the keen buyers of Matthew Goode & Co. Limited. ever on the lookout for something new for the house for novelties, the name the com- pany has earned. With over 42,000 square feet of floor space in a well-ventilated and lighted building with frontages to Stephens place and Gawler-place, there is ample space for the display of goods, but it is evident that before Iong even this space will have to be increased. There are 16 commercial travellers employed by
the company, and they go over a territory which, besides covering all South Austra- lia, oven out beyond Hergott Springs, and every portion of the West Coast, takes in part of Victoria, and reaches Wilcannia in New South Wales, and Derby and Broome, in Western Austraiia. A pile of bright cummerbunds and ties are destined for the pearlers at the last named port, and further on are the piles of ready-made shirts and denim overalls, some of which will find their way to the opai gougers at Wbite Cliffs. It would be impossible to hazard a guess as to how many thousands of these working shirts are sold weekly by the firm, but the number is prodigious. The better quality of goods, ranging from the simple tennis shirt to the most elabo- rate pin-tucked variety. is sold in equal quantities, for Matthew Goode & Co., Limi- ted, have a surprisingly varied trade. As has been said, their watchword is service, and it is the ideal of the firm that they shall be able at a moment's notice to sup- ply the wants of the furthest out-back storekeeper, as well as of the most up-to- date Rundle street emporium. The idea that anything is good enough for the country has never found favor in this es- tablishment, and the heads of the business have resolutely set their faces against any idea of "working off old stock" in the outback districts. Judicious buying has been one of the secrets of their success, and those employed in this particular branch of the work have displayed in the
past an almost uncanny aptitude for gaug- ing the demand for a particular line. The millinery workrooms and show- rooms of Matthew Goode, Limited, are among the largest in the State and the rule of the firm is that the show- room must be cleared each season, so that they are always in a position to offer the latest models to their customers. In addi- tion to the hats made on the premises, there are many exclusive imported Eng- lish and French models, just as there are in the costumes and coats, which are in bewildering variety. The novelties and accessories of the toilet, from the heavy Eastern girdle plaque to the chic and inconsequent "bomb" hatpin, are dis- played on huge tables, and all the re- quirements of milliners are stocked. The endless miles of ribbon displayed would make even a railway expert, accustomed to computing distances, dizzy, and in everything there is the unmistakable touch of freshness that makes it as something distinctively this year's goods. Where it is nnecessary to import, the firm does so on a lavish scale. but wherever it is pos- sible it heeds the slogan of "Australia first.' In the great airtight lockers, fragrant with camphor, are packed thousands of pairs of Australian blankets, equal to any- thing the world can produce. Australian tweeds arc also given a prominent place in the section devoted to men's wear, where the ready-made tailoring de- partment illustrates the progress of the popular ready to wear suit. In underwear for men and women Australian goods are equal to anything and compare favorably with the most expensive importations of the firm. Australian hosiery has rapidly achieved an established reputation, and there is no doubt that the consistent back- ing of the new industry by such firms as Matthew Goode & Co., Ltd, has done much to bring this about. The demand is still far greater than the supply, however, and by every mail fresh novelties in stock- ings. gloves, and scarfs are arriving. It would be impossible to deal with all the activities of a softgoods warehouse in detail, but from the furnishing section to the smallest detail of millinery every de- partment receives the attention of a member of the company. Much thoughtful care for the employes is evidenced, and it is said that this firm was one of the first to instal an adequately- equipped lounge and luncheon room for the employes. The manifold responsibilities of management range from the oversight of the taping of scores of thousands of pillowcases to the set of the collars in the piles of shirts, the general "finish" of the thousands of ready-made garments made up on the premises, and at the various whitework factories throughout the city, and all the elaborate details of departmental oversights. It is just this attention to detail which has won public confidence in Matthew Goode & Co., not only in South Australia, but throughout the Commonwealth. The Western Aus- tralian branch is situated in Hay street, Perth, and Mr. R. B. Goode, the local director, is shortly to be joined by Mr. H. L. Jessop. Offices at Broken Hill and Melbourne testify to the volume of busi- ness done by the company which traces its success to that ?? boot sale of long ago. The freehold of the Stephens place premises has been recently acquired from the South Australian Company, and a fleet of motor vehicles is required to handle the delivery and travelling business of the company.
j Mr. A 11. <i<K>de.
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Mr. M. A. Goode.