Alexanders Apparel Hastings was originally opened in 1980 and was owned by the late Des Bowater. Des spent his life in menswear and was well known in the district. He took up menswear in Hastings in 1973, starting across the road at Blackmore’s. At this time there were many other independent menswear stores in Hastings, about 16, and each proprietor was able to make a decent living.
‘‘Thirty years ago we were flat stick on a Friday night. At 7.30pm the fitting rooms would all be full and we would have four staff on until 8.30pm. Now at 5pm it’s dead. Independent menswear stores had faded from the scene,” Des said when the sale of the business was announced.
Darren Olsen bought the business towards the end 2011, having had a successful career in finance, but he was looking for a career change and a new challenge. Since then he has developed a passion for quality apparel. He enjoys the interaction with customers from all walks of life and dealing with suppliers in the industry. Business acumen is crucial in this competitive industry and Darren excels in this area. Darren also owns and operates Stitch N Time Alterations which is located right next door.
Since those early days trading seven days a week has been introduced. “These days you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses as people don’t have the opportunity to come in during the week,” Darren says.
Darren himself commented on the basic technology when he took over in 2011. There were no computers, just a cash register. Since then they have quickly moved with the times installing computerised POS and have also embraced social media with Facebook and Instagram accounts, alongside their web page. During the pandemic Alexander’s also also offered online sales via their ecommerce website and continue to do so. It’s a far cry from the 1980s when transactions and interactions were all manual and contact largely face to face.
Alexanders has now been in business for 40 years. As a celebration of solidarity and equality, we set up our ladies clothing store in 2020 on King Street and this was relocated to Heretaunga Street in October 2021.
Our ladies clothing store caters for young and old and fills the gap! Our female fans can now continue to shop till they drop but for themselves rather than their husbands!